If you loved the pod races in the movie Star Wars: Episode 1, you’re certainly not alone. The feeling of piloting your own hovercraft in and out of tight, hairpin turns while avoiding obstacles and other racers was exhilarating to say the least. While the pods themselves are still light years away from being invented, drones are making the same feeling possible today.
Recently some French aerial drone enthusiasts took their love of racing into the forest where they faced off in their own Star Wars style first person race, using their POV cameras on their drones to recreate the race scenes. While their equipment resembled the race scene in the first movie, some noted that the POV angle more or less resembled the forest chase in the Return of the Jedi movie.
Setting Up the Race
The race itself was in a forest, along a 150 meter or 492 foot course. The pilots had to use monitors or other displays to control their pods as they were required to stay in the area near the starting line. The paths were very winding as was seen in both films, making it even more of a challenge. The drones themselves reached speeds of up to 50 kph or 31 mph. This required the pilots to rely on their instincts as well as the POV provided by their drones as such a small path became a huge obstacle to all of the pilots at that speed!
While the race itself was meant for fun, it does demonstrate some of the challenges faced in using drones today. Too many have been controlled by old-fashioned joysticks that gave little control over their movement and which didn’t communicate with the drone fast enough. Today’s drones are controlled by apps that are run on a tablet and which typically require nothing more than a swipe with the finger to control. Since drones can be used for more than entertainment purposes and are often found in law enforcement and even military applications, many are praising the advancement of their controls and other options.