Drone Racing
AutoVolt Magazine|July-August 2017

Welcome to drone racing, where first-person-view guided flying machines dart through fields and forests at speeds of up to 70 mph. This impressive sport brings to life Star Wars inspired scenes of flying through woods or other scenery. It may come to your home sooner than you think too, as both the BBC and Sky are considering televising race series. And  the best bit? It’s a sport that anyone can enter.

Jonathan Musk

When we think of electric racing, Formula E is king of the electric racing series. There are, of course, plenty of other series too including the e-Miglia rally, newly formed Electric GT Championship and Trophy Andros. There’s also a forthcoming electric rallycross series named E/RACING, which will feature 670hp all-wheel drive purpose built machines.

Slightly more obscure and always making progress are the beautifully designed Roborace cars that are set to provide robotic support racing at Formula E events. But they’re a little way off yet.

The one major problem with all these series is that they’re not for the everyman to enter. Drivers are handpicked from elite drivers’ clubs the world over. Participation is not likely for most of us.

Enter drone racing. This relatively new phenomenon is picking up pace, with its exciting blend of virtual reality, quadcopters and pylon racing. If you’ve ever watched Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi and enjoyed the Imperial Speedsters racing through the woods, you’ll love this – or perhaps Pod Racing from Episode I.

While all that may sound tantalising, camera drones can be very expensive with top DJI models costing more than a thousand pounds. However, racing drones are a different beast with three aims; to fly fast, be manoeuvrable and provide a live view to the pilot.

They’re typically smaller and less expensive than other camera drones, as they don’t require gimbal mounted 4K cameras or need mile-long range either. However, they do require costly first person view (FPV) goggles. In addition, many racing drones can be built in kit form, whereas others are known as RTF (Ready to Fly).

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