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Drone racing in the woods evokes more than a few Star Wars memories

Drone racing in the woods evokes more than a few Star Wars memories
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|October 8, 2014 6:48 PM

Ever wanted to recreate the speeder chase in Return of the Jedi, or pod racing in The Phantom Menace? There's apparently an easy way to do it that doesn't involve sci-fi technology. France's Airgonay club recently raced flying drones through a forest using a combination of cameras and wearable displays to immerse pilots in the action. As you'll see in the highlight video below, it's both thrilling and more than a little challenging -- racers have to both dodge around trees and other drones that could come from virtually any direction. At least a few competitors had to retreat to a repair area to fix broken rotor blades and other damage.

This isn't really a spectator sport yet, but the Airgonay team is hopeful. There's a global tournament coming in about a year, and the club would like to see events stream online so that you can get that first-person experience from afar. The group's Herve Pellarin even predicts that drones will get virtual lasers to "shoot down" opponents Wipeout-style. FAA regulations may prevent this remote-controlled racing from getting started in the US for a while, but it's good to know that the framework for it already exists.

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Drone racing in the woods evokes more than a few Star Wars memories