PHOTOS FROM THE GROUND: FPV drone racing
by Najeer Yusof
FROM remote control helicopters to aerial drones used for photography and now: Racing drones.
Locally, there are a number of drone hobbyist shops, such as RP innovations Singapore (RPiSG) and Drone Matters, that cater to drone hobbyists and also provide commercial services such as aerial photography. On weekends, local drone hobbyists take their drones to open fields to test their flying skills.
Owner of RPiSG, Mr Roy Pwee, 42, said: “The evolution from remote control helicopters to first-person view (FPV) racing drones has been a rapid one. Starting with remote control cars and helicopters 20 years ago, I became involved in drone racing since 2014. I started the business of commercialising drones here in 2006, after seeing its market potential.”
Drone racing’s popularity has been growing ever since Dubai’s World Drone Prix early this year, which saw the winner, 15-year-old Luke Bannister, bring home $250,000. FPV drone racing first began as an amateur sport in Australia. To date, FPV drone races have been held on an international scale, in the United States, and in Dubai. With these large-scale races and ESPN, an American based cable, and television sports news, airing these races live, FPV drone racing also has the potential in becoming a recognised sport.
“There are racing drones which can be bought off the shelves and also those that can be built from scratch. Customising and building your own drone allows you to choose the type of parts to use and it also allows you to fix your drone easily if it malfunctions. This is not the case for the off-the-shelf one,” said Mr Xu Zhouhua, 28, manager of Drone Matters.
As these drones are becoming more affordable, FPV drone racing is gaining more enthusiasts both overseas and locally. Here, the FPV drone racing scene has been growing since 2014.
Featured image and other images by Najeer Yusof.
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