In our lifetime, drone-racing will almost certainly become a major international sporting event.
Not only have hobbyists started racing drones with their friends and neighbors, they’ve already formed teams and leagues dedicated to the newfangled “sport,” and tournaments have sprouted up in the United States, Denmark, Russia, and other sundry nations.
To pilot the drone, pilots use goggles that livestream from a video camera strapped onto the device, and chart its aerial course with radio controllers.
The gear needed for drone-racing doesn’t come cheap: a proper quadcopter, video camera, video receiver, and pair of first-person viewing (FPV) goggles could set you back a few grand, and the frenetic nature of racing means that crashes are inevitable.
Indeed, a tongue-in-cheek passage in a website on drone-racing said that “many of us are on the verge of selling a kidney.”
That may change very soon: GoPro, the producer of the popular action video camera, said that it’s developing its own drone, which could lead to a steep decline in the cost of drone-racing.
Most videos of drone-races take place on open, grassy terrains and parking lots. The race in the video above, the first officially organized by the FPV League, took place in a forest, an unusual and more dangerous—for the drone—location for a race.
Drone-racing remains a nascent hobby at the moment; the FPV sub-reddit has barely 1600 subscribers, filled mostly with grainy videos and novices asking for advice, but if its growth trend continues, it could quickly become a mainstream pastime in just a few years.