Drones are a big deal these days, but it turns out not just as recreational toys to fly in your garden.
A new underground sport is on the rise – drone racing.
And this new form of competition comes with a twist too, as this is ‘first-person-view racing’, meaning that competitors wear headsets and see the race through the eyes of cameras mounted on their drones.
We were invited down to the Southbank in London as part of the launch of new sci-fi show Killjoys, and to try out drone racing for ourselves.
As the footage suggests, this is a form of racing that looks and feels very different to others. For one, there’s those headsets, which makes for a surreal way of seeing, and competing.
But, when you find out that at the top end of the sport the drones can fly at up to 80mph, it suddenly makes sense to have a first-person view of what’s happening.
Now, when it came to us having a go, things went far less swimmingly. In five attempts we made it off the ground, but little else, as our drone frequently introduced itself to the ceiling, the wall and even one of the windows on one occasion.
These things are hard to control – mainly due to the sensitivity of the controls, and of course trying to get used to seeing things from the drone’s perspective.
Luckily Brett Collis, one of the best drone racers in the country – having just come third in the UK championships – was on hand to show just how agile this type of quadcopter can be.
Brett is aiming to make it to the world championships later this year in Hawaii, where the competition will look a little like this.
Luckily the drones used here are a little more ‘industrial’ than the commercial kind you might find in online stores.
Usually covered in tape and powered by batteries normally found in smartphones, they might not completely look the part, but they can certainly play it.