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World of Sport

07th Nov 2016

Drone racing: This is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and will be coming to a TV near you soon

Like the best video game you've ever played

Ben Kiely

Imagine flying through the sky at high speeds with a full view of your surroundings with no fear of getting hurt if you wipe out.

We’re living in a world where you don’t have to imagine such an exhilarating experience, thanks to the wonderful new sport that’s sweeping the globe known as drone racing. Thank you science!

Drone racing is exactly what it sounds like it is, only better. Pilots build and fly extremely fast and agile multi-rotor robots around a set course as fast as they possibly can. The kicker, and this is what makes it even more exciting, is that almost all drone racing is done using an FPV (First Person View) experience so it feels like the pilot controlling the drone is actually flying.

This is achieved by attaching cameras on the drones. The live footage is then fed to FPV monitors or specialised FPV goggles which gives the pilot the sensation as if they were sitting in the cockpit flying the whizzing craft.

The sport is still in its infancy and while the racing brings a competitive element, it really does offer something for everyone.

Some will enjoy the thrill of getting the quickest times around a course possible, others will appreciate the feeling of soaking in their surroundings from a completely unique perspective the most, but the adrenaline junkies are also catered for with Freestyle FPV.

If the idea of pulling off skillful aerial acrobatics such as rolls, flips and spins at speeds of over 50 mph sounds like your idea of fun, then Freestyle FPV is the option for you. It allows pilots to flex their creative chops without having to worry about sticking to the constraints of a set course.

It’s still a fledgling sport, but it’s starting to take off (pun most definitely intended). Eurosport are set to broadcast drone races after signing a one-year deal with DR1 Racing, a Los Angeles-based drone racing organisation, as Reuters reports.

They’ll be showing the Drone Racing Invitationals on November 9, as well as three more races next year, in over 70 countries.

If you want to get in on the ground level before drone racing reaches its dizzying heights, you can get involved by purchasing your own equipment (see video below). However, if you want to create the perfectly-tuned racing machine you can have plenty of fun building your own drone, tinkering away with radio frequencies and electronics to soup up your design and get ahead of the competition.

Science Week is a national week long celebration of science supported by Science Foundation Ireland with events taking place throughout Ireland. Most of the events are free, all of the details are available on The Peak Performance: The Science Behind Sporting Success event featuring talks from Roscommon GAA star Cathal Cregg and Irish Olympian Jessie Barr kicks off on Thursday November 17 at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Doors open at 8pm with tickets available from €7 which can be purchased here.