AI News, BOOK REVIEW: Customized Drones Give Pilots an “Out of Body” Racing Experience

Customized Drones Give Pilots an “Out of Body” Racing Experience

Ask Tyler “RaceDayQuads” Brennan what first-person-view drone racing feels like, and his eyes light up.

“It’s really immersive and a great experience.” At the 2016 U.S. National Drone Racing Championships on Governor’s Island in NewYork City early this month, drone pilots gathered to test their racing chops.

This first-person-view (FPV) experience gives pilots the sensation that they’re right in the cockpit of anaircraft, dodging through trees and soaring over buildings.

Brennan, like the other pilots gathered on the field, had competed at one of several qualifying events held all over the country, earning the right to race in in the finals.

theyhand pick all of theircomponents—including flight controllers and motors—and then test everything themselves until they hit upon a version that fits their unique flying style.

I’m working with manufacturers to develop new product for the market—stuff that doesn’t exist yet.” For “Flying Bear” Loo, this freedom to hack and tinker is a major draw.

He says designing and optimizing drones is a perfect complement to his day job designing consumer gadgets.It has given him the opportunity to try out new skillssuch as programming firmware and software—skillsthat thenaugment his professionalwork.

The 21st-Century Sport—Yes, Sport—of Drone Racing

They hope to build the league into an organizing body and entertainment property, setting up live races, streaming battles and racing showdowns live on the Internet, and advocating for drone sports across the country—with a special focus on convincing both kids and adults to start building their own gear, the exact mission of the Maker Faire event.

Racing Drone Buyers Guide

This buyer’s guide is for first-time drone racers who want to educate themselves on:

racing drone is a small quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is purpose-built to compete in FPV (first person view) racing events held in most major cities around the world.

For technical and DIY deep-dives, check out the following excellent websites and blogs: After reading this guide, you can learn more about some of the leading racing drones for sale today by reading our reviews.

If you take a close look at drone race results, you’ll notice that pretty much every winning drone was custom-built by its owner.

Just like in other forms of competitive flying, drone racers are constantly looking for new gear and tweaks that will give them an edge. Modding is common in drone racing because drone technology is advancing very quickly.

If you are new to drone flying or racing, then you definitely should start out using an inexpensive ready-to-fly (RTF) mini drone.

Buying an starter FPV drone is important, because you’ll want to learn how to race and get comfortable flying through a camera view, without losing a bunch of time and money.

After you’ve mastered flying a micro drone inside, you’ll be ready to move up to assemble-and-mod racers like the Vortex 250 PRO –

The first thing you need to decide when buying a racing drone is whether you will compete in a racing league or in less formal events and meetups.

The racing format will dictate the type of aircraft, controller, FPV gear and budget you’ll need to compete and enjoy racing.

Each league has different rules that dictate the type of equipment (standard spec or open spec), the race environment, rules for combat and overtaking, etc.

Here are the racing leagues I know about, so far: Make sure you record the minimum and maximum specs for suitable aircraft in the league you like best. Many leagues today use 250 mm / 5-inch mini quads.

 The Inductrix is a fast, inexpensive micro quad that includes an onboard camera, reliable RC controller with live feed video display and excellent controller software.

To compete in local meetups, a budget of $300-700 will get you a 250mm spec racing drone with a good RC controller, flight controller, FPV video feed and a small video display.

But honestly, the following 30-minute tutorial by Charpu, one of the best racing drone pilots around, explains the process better than I ever could.

Lift power is always important. More powerful motors and more efficient props provide more lift, which helps you make it around sharp corners and accelerate out of a turn faster than your competitors.

Maneuverability is the sum total of the following characteristics (components that affect it): In general, using higher-quality components will improve the characteristics above.

For racing, you mainly need a reliable controller with extra-smooth, precision manual control sticks that is durable and weatherproof.

The reason is simple: it puts your eyes directly on the nose of your aircraft as it flies, making the race a LOT more exciting (and challenging). FPV video can be streamed to a video display or to FPV goggles.

Generally speaking, a racing drone’s performance is improved by upgrading the following components (to achieve the desired effect): Reducing the aircraft’s weight is another effective way to improve race performance. Pay special attention to the weight of each of the following components in your kit: Not all drone racers are used to turn corners faster than others. Some are further modded to perform acrobatics and stunts, to shoot at targets, to take high quality video and to fight other drones – to the death.

Here are some of the more popular types of mods: If you’re going to race, then you will be buying plenty of replacement batteries props, ESCs, frames and motors.

Most drone racers bring a complete set of backup props, a couple of ESCs, one or two replacement motors and at least 2-3 pre-charged batteries to every event.

There are dozens of enthusiast blogs and forums on the Internet where dedicated drone racers hang out and discuss the finer points of modding, race rules and the latest gear.

The Trippy, High-Speed World of Drone Racing

When I visited Jordan, Zach, and Travis in Fort Collins, they were living in a ranch house in a development of similar houses not far from open prairie.

In America there are tens of millions of basements like this, with the same short-pile wall-to-wall carpeting, cinder-block walls, high windows in window wells, exposed ducts and pipes overhead, water heater in the corner, and pervasive sense of away-from-the-family refuge.

On the walls, instead of the usual band posters and imitation stolen street signs, hung several of those large prop checks which are given to prize-winners in news photographs.

That one crate is full of bags of propellers made by the propeller company that’s one of our sponsors.” He picked out a package and showed me his and Zach’s smiling head shots in red and blue balloons, like something on an old-time cereal box.

goggles with the name Fat Shark (the main goggle manufacturer) prominently displayed, quads of many sizes—down to the pocket-size minis that the pilots use to make insect-eye-view videos of their living room and kitchen, flying the little drones between chair legs and couch sections and around the peanut-butter jar on the counter—such a profusion of gear gave the basement a sorcerer’s-workshop richness.

So we put motors and propellers on it, and the next day we tried it, and it flew pretty well, for a fairly heavy three-foot-high racing trophy.” Flying their drones every day constitutes the core of their schedule, so, after lunch at a sandwich shop in Fort Collins (wooden tables, deluxe combos, artisanal sodas), Jordan and Travis drove us in Jordan’s new Subaru WRX hatchback into the Roosevelt National Forest and up the Cache la Poudre Canyon.

Jordan skis and used to do ski acrobatics, but gave that up in his late teens after an accident in which he smashed his knee into his head and had to recuperate in bed for a month.

He sat on the couch in their living room wearing a T-shirt and a pair of baggy black trousers with white rows of starship troopers on them, and praised the South Korean government, which encourages development of drone technologies.

It has built a public drone park on the outskirts of Seoul, holds regular drone races that thousands attend, and offers drone instruction as part of STEM programs in the schools.

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