Somewhere between a scene out of Star Wars and a video game that has come to life exists the new sport of drone racing. Also known as ‘The Next Big Thing’.
Pilots use first person view cameras and headsets to race remote controlled flying devices through specially-designed obstacle courses at 80mph. This is for real, friends, and you should get in on the hype early.
So, may I present to you: The inaugural Drone Racing World Championships. Yes, you can watch the very first time this event takes place. And I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be the first of many. So you can go for the novelty or to say you were there or for the thrill of watching this intense, winner-takes-all event but also because it’s taking place in one of the most awe-inspiring places on earth.
Think mini quadcopters racing through Jurassic Park but without the dinosaurs. Yep, the championships are set at Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii where the famous movie franchise was shot. A 40-minute drive from Honolulu on the East coast of Oahu, you can lay back on the grass and take in the stunning mountains and lush green valleys while the largest collection of the best drone racers in the world battle it out for supremacy of the world’s newest sport.
It’s a huge event: 190 pilots from 37 countries have qualified to compete. And the world’s number 1 ranked pilot just happens to be a 15-year old from Somerset named Luke “Banni UK” Bannister. So there’s one more reason to get excited.
The drones used for racing are smaller than your average drone used for filming or photography and are on the very cutting edge of technology. There are lots of elements to a successful racing drone: The goggles which take the live feed from the camera on the front of the drone, the remote control which can quickly speed up or slow down the drone as well as to turn it and of course the amazing drone itself which is lightweight but built to withstand impact.
Despite the amazing technology, the sport is still in its infancy. Which realistically is part of what makes it so exciting. In the future, all spectators will be able to wear the goggles that allow you to see what the pilots see and someday it’ll be in high definition 360 degrees. Reality, experienced virtually.