A buzzing comes across the sky. This past weekend, on the northwest side of an island in the New York Harbor, roughly 1,000 people witnessed what some believe to be the first new sport of the 21st century. ESPN was there to broadcast the event to anyone with a computer, and well-known international brands like…
Wow. I have to get back to my drone project which I started playing two years ago so I can join this crazy First-Person-View (FPV) drone racing.
First-person-view (FPV) drone racing involves taking a homemade drone, pairing it with a camera and transmitter, and flying it as fast as you can against your friends, using a pair of video goggles to see what the drone is seeing. The concept didn’t exist a few years ago, but after a viral video comparing it to Star Wars, and with the help of Reddit and other web forums, it’s grown into an international movement that some are tying to turn into a spectator sport.
Drone racing is undeniably enjoyable to watch online—videos of races and pilots’ antics have racked up millions views—but watching it in person, or even live on a screen, has proven difficult. Current technological limitations mean that video feeds from the drones have to be standard definition so that there’s no lag in what the pilot sees while trying to pilot the drone. This means any footage relayed to jumbotrons or live television ends up looking fuzzy, blurry and choppy, like a VHS tape that was checked out from Blockbuster one too many times. To get live HD feeds on racing drones right now, you need to strap a second camera and transmitter on, weighing down the drone and slowing down the races. Even with high-resolution feeds, it’s difficult to track where pilots are in the race, who’s winning, or where the other racers are.