Drone Racing is a high speed, competitive e-sport where skilled operators pilot their remotely controlled machines through a 3-D racetrack from a First Person perspective, hence the term FPV Racing (First Person View).
With the FPV perspective being most commonly used in video games, this user experience is supremely immersive as the only vision able to be consumed by the pilot that of the forward facing view from the drone. It’s this experience that creates the ‘hook’ for those who enter the sport, as even at the beginner level it is a moment full of thrills and spills as up to 8 pilots can be racing at once along a track that would fit within a football ground.
With the early roots of drone racing being established in Australia sometime between 2013-14, it is a sport that has quickly grown from a small underground movement consisting of a few likeminded friends gathering in fields, carparks and even abandoned empty buildings to now, where specific racing clubs have formed (like ours at Outer Heaven), National and International Racing Organisations are now hosting and producing world-class, televised events drawing participation from pilots and drawing multinational sponsors from all over the world.
The rapid growth of this tech-based sport can be attributed in part due to it’s relative low cost (when compared to other motor/aerial sports) and ease of entry for beginners. With FPV racing drones now being complimented with computer simulators, game developers have heavily invested in the physics and ‘feel’ of their games so that there is little to no sensory difference between a real machine and the online variation.
It’s this online model that has allowed many enthusiasts to enter the sport, where they can learn, practice and refine their skills with no additional ongoing expense that would normally occur in real world learning conditions (like crashing). It’s this unique crossover being created that drone racing has become a true multi-platform e-sport, where skills learned and refined in the online world can directly transfer to the real world in real time. As a result FPV drone racing has enjoyed a surge in participation all over the world.
The sport has seen not only great moments in racing for pilots and the viewing spectators both, but has also created exciting opportunities for pilots being able to gain sponsorship and employment within the industry by those developing the technology used on their machines, but also the opportunity to represent their countries in World Championship and other International events.
Drone racing is a sport that crosses many bridges in technology and breaks down many barriers for participation all over the world and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Matty ‘PrimalMatty’ Clarke