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Why FPV Racing drones are so popular these days?

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FPV racing went from 0 to 1 in a very short period of time. Technology meets science-fiction in these incredibly dynamic races that are turning techies into heroes. It’s trendy, it’s cool and it’s drawing a lot of attention for all the right reasons.

The Experience

Blame it on Icarus or Luke Skywalker, but the truth is we have always imagined ourselves being able to escape from the ground. It’s an inner desire that has been there since we first saw a bird. Flying is a true expression of freedom, and aircraft pilots know it better than anyone.

If there is no big enthusiasm for RC boat/car competition, it’s because people can easily have a better experience in life-size scale. When asking drone hobbyists or pro pilots about the sensation of flying FPV, most of them can’t find the words to describe it. Picture this: you sit comfortably with your goggles on, the props start buzzing and with a slight movement of your fingers you are airborne. Accelerate, do crazy maneuvers and even crash in first person without risking your haircut. The world becomes a playground.Fpv racing arena

The Technology

Technology nowadays allow these systems to be small and affordable enough for anyone to play with them. That makes a difference since for just 200$ and very little technical knowledge you can start practicing tricks with your own. What you’ll need:

  • Drone: Ready-to-fly or custom made. Small & lightweight quad copters are the most common choice.
  • FPV device: Seeing what the drone sees is the whole point of FPV racing. You can do this through screens, immersive Goggles, or even specialized glasses.
  • Controller: Also known as radio transmitter, is what allows you to control your drone. It’s important to choose a suitable one since for each transmitter there are only certain receivers that can go with it.
  • Video Transmitters, receivers & Antennas: good connectivity is key to ensure real-time quality transmission.
  • Batteries: flight autonomy is not the best asset of racing drones. Make sure to get a bunch of them especially for practice sessions.

FPV Racing goggles

Talking about performance, for an average FPV racing drone you get real-time video streaming (600TVL resolution), 5-10 min autonomy and 60+ mph right at your fingertips. But of course, the best results are always achieved when pilots start tweaking their own custom drones!

The ecosystem of FPV Racing

No plants grow in bad soils. The community that has formed around FPV racing and media companies promoting it (ESPN, Skysports) are what’s pushing this new sport forward. When you have people such as Muse’s lead singer Matt Bellamy investing in the Drone Racing League (DRL), you can be certain this is not a kid’s game anymore.

Since 2015 over 60 events have been organized worldwide, almost half of them in the US. Race tracks are carefully designed at a level that it becomes a visual light show, creating an unusual and entertaining experience also for spectators. A good example was this year’s World Drone Prix celebrated in Dubai. The event looked quite futuristic, although the most surprising fact was that it made it to the news worldwide after a 15-year-old became the overall winner and took home a 250.000$ prize.

There are currently several international organizations that are creating their own events and regulations:

Thinking about becoming a drone racing pro? Join your local community and give it a try. You won’t regret it.

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