First-person video drone racing is exploding in popularity, thanks to a couple technical advances and some amazing YouTube videos. I wrote about the hobby recently for Make:, volume 44, but there’s a plethora of videos that really bring it to life. The speed, the aerobatics, even the sound makes drone racing come to life. Buckle in, maximize these videos, and get ready to crane your neck trying to follow the action.
Carlos Puertolas, aka Charpu, is one of the best FPV pilots in America, if not the world. Sponsored by Luminier, he runs an active YouTube channel that features lots of tricks, and blistering passes through tight spaces, often in and around abandoned buildings. This is urban exploration, drone style.
This was the first FPV drone video to really go viral, garnering 1.5 million YouTube views since last fall, when dozens of media outlets picked it up. Airgonay, the French drone group that produced the video, also released a crash reel, which may be even more entertaining than the original.
Aerial Sports League is one group organizing frequent races. They set up courses in Oakland, California, and fly an additional drone above the competition, for the express purpose of filming the event. Between that and FPV from the racers themselves, they splice together an entertaining video that gives a good feel for what it’s like to compete.
Aerial GP, another racing league in its infancy, shared this video with lots of info on how to set up a course, but don’t worry — it’s got plenty of action, too.
MultiGP’s video is in split-screen, following four pilots as they race at a Florida airport.
When the weather’s bad, or there’s no acceptable place outside for a race, small and medium-sized drones can be raced in arenas or even parking garages. Here, you get a feel for the speed — and what a near-miss feels like.
Tested’s video (featuring Charpu) gives a good overview of the sport, with plenty of action footage, along with some of the tech and techniques.