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Drone Battle Bots- Fight Club For Nerds

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With drones firmly planted in our pop culture sensibilities, one sport has taken arise and created a hybrid war with battling robots. Battle bots are now all the rage with battling quads fighting to the death and an expanding audience screaming for more. This seems like a natural progression for a television audience that wants a blood sport without the appearance of blood.

In July, Yahoo TV refers to Team Whyachi of providing a glimpse of this with a flame-throwing drone appropriately named The Dragon. The brilliance in all of this is that the quad was equipped with this device for under $20.00 from parts at a local hardware store. As the team would later tell Yahoo TV, “This is our drone smiting device. It’s good for getting drones out of the sky. It’s also good for leaves.” This is great news for anyone living where the Fall Season takes place. (Can it mow the lawn as well?)

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Drone Battle Bots can be compared as a new type of entertainment along with Drone Racing.  In fact, leading drone manufacturer DJI opened a Drone Racing Arena in Seoul, Korea. However, that is where the comparison ends. The rules of Drone Battle Bots are simple: each competitor starts off with three points and loses one every time their drone hits the ground. Indeed, while drone racers may get more of an adrenaline rush from racing, Drone Battle Bots satisfies a more primordial urge of smashing the opponent’s drones to bits. Still, one has to be impressed by the inventiveness incorporated with drone battle bots. Think about it. It takes an engineering mind set to outfit a drone for $20.00 with a flame throwing device bought in a hardware store.

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What is unnerving on all of this is the military war approach to drones. Add some historical Roman Coliseum imagery of flying robots and dismembered parts and a good time is had by all. There is the feeling of danger but no one gets hurt. While one can connect the dots on the entertainment value of this sport, the start of this sport began in an unlikely spot. 

One area that claims to have roots in battling drones is oddly enough the San Francisco area-you know the place where the Summer of Peace and Love occurred back in 1967. (My how times of changed.) In 2010, San Francisco resident and future CEO of Aerial Sports League Marque Cornblatt and a few of his friends started getting together and smashing together toy drones and watching them shatter in to pieces. Soon, it turned into a Friday Night spectacle event. Technology would improve and quads that could shoot flames or pellets soon became all the rage with an ever expanding audience. Cornblatt would later tell Tech Crunch, “There’s crashes, there’s a lot of movement. It’s a chaotic dance almost. People come to watch that.”

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Drone Racing and Drone Battlebots are here to stay. One can see the arenas being built in places like Las Vegas with robots being fought to the death and rebuilt for the next competition. Will this be the future brutal contest much in a Roman Coliseum with crowds of families screaming death to drones? As long as there are unmanned UAVs around, there will be a market that will expand and evolve in ways not yet predicted. 

To learn more about Drone Racing, check out what We Talk UAV says on this topic.

Aerial Sports League: 

by Ben Walford

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