What could possibly be better than FPV drone racing? The action-packed, high intensity, instant response time, and muscle memory-intensive sport already has attracted the attention of thousands and of ESPN who has recently signed a deal giving them exclusive access to broadcast FPV drone racing. Inevitably, the fast-paced racing game will become repetitive and boring to watch. What to do then? You add laser tag into the game!
What is FPV Racing?
FPV or First Person View racing is where a pilot gets to fly a drone in real-time while in the first-person view. Meaning that the pilot sees only what the drone’s camera field of vision encases. The pilot puts on goggles that are very similar to virtual reality goggles called FPV goggles that are tailored made for FPV piloting.
FPV drones offer unmatched control and speed when compared to normal, quad propeller drones such as the DJI Phantom series and more. These drones can go as fast as the VXR-190 with a top speed of 166 miles per hour and the RACER X clocking in at 164 miles per hour. These drones are the top-of-line costing between $700 to $1000+ respectively.
Why FPV Drone Laser Tag?
Why not drone laser tag? Combining two of the coolest experiences in the world into one sport, this is every technology/sci-fi fanatic’s dream!
The vast majority of drone laser tag works through an infrared blast. There are sensors on a drone that create a field that, when another drone shoots an infrared laser out of an emitter, the laser blast hits the drone sensors and it creates a signal. That signal can be read and starts code that starts a sequence of lights, sounds, motion, vibration, or anything else to signal that you’ve been hit.
The implementation of infrared laser technology into FPV racing is vital because, as the sport gains popularity, changes must be made in order to keep the sport even more interesting and alive.
The most relatable sport to drone racing that we have seen adapt to the challenges of age is car racing. Over time, racing has changed and branched off into many different categories that all have their own viewers and specialties. No longer is racing just left turn after left turn with an occasional pit stop, but racing now has enduro crosses, destruction derbies, ultra-fast formula 1 racing and so many more!
In order for the sports we all love to stay alive and growing, creativity by the players, inventors, and viewers is needed and should be encouraged. Through these inventions and developers, we have the possibility of drone laser tag! With the development of the new format of FPV racing, the possibilities are endless.
A way to accomplish this new form of FPV racing is through the use of an augmented reality system. Augmented reality is different from virtual reality in that in augmented reality, you have a real-life factor such as controlling a drone in a park or race track while you have a variation of goggles on that add the virtual or non real-world aspects.
The technology to implement augmented reality into FPV racing already exists as we’ve seen with google glasses, Windows Holographic, and games like Pokemon Go. All that is needed is to edit the software to be compatible and related to drone racing. Meaning that people would program race tracks, items, lasers, missiles, and anything else you could possibly want into an augmented reality program.
This all sounds extremely simple and doable, so why has no one done it yet? People have! Two companies called Edgybees and Epson have had augmented reality systems for FPV racing for roughly three years now. They have been developing this technology and have perfected it. Epson’s Moverio BT-300 Drone FPV Edition was tailored made for the FPV industry. Of course, there are many more options out there for augmented reality FPV racing goggles that do not cost an arm and a leg.
Two Low-Cost Battle Drones
When wondering what drones we can buy that do not cost as much as top-of-the-line drones, we can turn to companies who have already succeeded in the field of FPV drone laser tag at a cost-efficient price. Companies such as the new Indiegogo project, the Rockee Drone and Holy Stone both have cheap FPV drones that have been made specifically for drone laser tag.
Rockee’s drone uses an infrared laser to simulate a hit when you have been tagged by another player. It offers a very controllable drone that is nimble and able to perform a wide range of flips and turns that are simply really cool and fun to watch! It allows you to battle within 150m (range).
The camera uses a gyroscope system in order to keep the pilot from feeling dizzy if they have not had much experience flying FPV drones. This also allows the user to easily control and aim the drone through a smartphone connected to the controller.
The battle drone package comes with pairs, so you get two drones and two controllers per purchase of the package. Once you get hit 3 times, it is game over and the drone will automatically land. The purchase price of the battle pack is $170 and an additional $20 per battery. All in all, it is a very good deal for a taste at the FPV laser tag experience at a relatively cheap price.
This drone was made by Indiegogo about 2 years ago. Since then it seems the only place you can find it online is here. It has since dropped in price all the way to $120.
Holy Stone’s HS117, which is their battle drone, also uses infrared lasers that signal sensors located across the drone when it has been hit by another drone’s laser. The lasers are amiable through their controllers which can be hard to aim given that you are just using line of sight observations. Once you lose 4 lives (get hit 4 times) your drone fighter automatically lands. According to reviews, people, mostly beginning FPV drone racers, love the product and find it very easy to control and use.
Holy stone specifically markets to beginner FPV racers when it comes to their HS177. The drone, which is about the size of your palm, comes in pairs when purchased at $70 and is ready to fly out of the box. The drone is made to withstand most crashes that come with your first experience flying an FPV drone.
But, for such a low price for a pair, this is the perfect system for you and your friends to train on before you upgrade to the next level of FPV drones. Check out the great reviews on Amazon here, however, as this post has been published it is not available on Amazon. You can get them here though!
Both of these drones are relatively similar in stats with both top speeds’ around 30 km/h or roughly 19 mph for the imperial people! The size and crash resistance are very similar as well. The major difference comes in with Rockee’s app that allows the user to see, first hand, what the drone is seeing in true FPV fashion, but, it adds $100 to the price tag while Holy Stone’s HS177 only has line of sight piloting, but at an extremely cheap price.
Drone n Base
Drone n Base is a moderately priced, $165, augmented reality drone that comes with a drone, controller, and an app on your smartphone or tablet that allows you to control the drone with incredible ease. You are easily able to experience the wonders of augmented reality racing at a fraction of the cost as most other systems.
Drone n Base multiplayer racing system is a combination of adrenaline and speed from Red Bull Air race and unpredictability of power ups from Mario Kart. Create drone racing track from bases right in your room. Choose check point with power-ups like nitro or freeze and start racing with your friends. It all depends only on player’s creativity.DronenBase.com
That sums it up pretty well. The amazing experience of cutting-edge augmented reality paired with a cost-effective ready-to-fly out of the box system allows for unparalleled access to start to experience the FPV augmented reality for the average person. Check their video out below as words do not give justice on how freaking cool this set up is.
Did I mention that you can also build your own tracks and set traps with Drone n Base’s app? The level of customization that the user has in augmented reality is truly only limited by the imagination of the user. Whatever you could imagine wanting in an FPV race, you can easily and much more cheaply, be able to add it to your race through Drone n Base’s software.
Drone n Base is the most advanced FPV drone racing system that integrates augmented reality on the market for such an affordable price. New companies are constantly coming into the playing field fighting for this emerging new market of first time FPV fliers. You will surely able to find the FPV drone with augmented reality that fits you by doing a simple google search or asking around the FPV community!
The innovation and cost-effectiveness presented in Drone n Base has allowed more people than ever before to gain access to augmented reality FPV racing and has thrust the sport into the public eye. Many more people are coming to FPV racing because the price walls are being torn down by companies like Drone n Base and the level of creativity, personal customization, and ease of flight are constantly bringing people to the sport.
Future of FPV Racing With Integrated Augmented Reality
As you may have picked up while reading this, augmented reality is attracting more and more people to FPV racing. The sport is branching out into many different subcategories that all have their own followings. Each of these subcategories are adding to the diversity of FPV racing and allowing the sport to grow at an unprecedented rate.
The lower cost of FPV drones with augmented reality attracts the people who were hesitant about joining the sport due to cost. This is no longer an issue. Augmented reality is poised to bring tons of new innovations and limitless possibilities to FPV racing. Only time can tell what will become of the sport and the sky is the limit!