It’s a nice Saturday afternoon. The sun is out beaming. The clouds have decided to take a break. No clouds are in sight.
At the Lizzy Sports Complex at East Legon, one of the soccer fields is in use. But it’s not being used for the usual soccer games. There are orange cones laying on the field, spread out and showing a pathway. A couple of banners and flags are also spread out on the field. The logo and words, “Aero Arcade” are featured on them.
At the Lizzy Sports Complex, the initial showcase of Drone Racing has officially commenced.
Behind this event is Kwamena Hazel, the CEO and co-founder of Aero Shutter, Ghana’s first Drone company which specializes in aerial photography and advertising. Out of Aero Shutter comes Aero Arcade. A new initiative which focuses on the concept of “Drone Racing”. He and his team brought their gear, including racing drones and controllers. They setup the area to showcase what drone racing is about.
So What is Drone Racing?
Lots of people are familiar with drones. They initially seem like toys which you can use to fly and take pictures. But now, they’ve become the standard for aerial photography, surveillance, and entertainment. Now, drones have entered another entertainment category: Competitive Racing.
Drone Racing started out as an amateur sport in 2014 and is now a competitive sport thanks to the creation of a Drone Racing League. Persons referred to as pilots, fly quad-copter drones through various courses, sometimes reaching speeds of 120mph with the goal of a being first in a race.
Racing Drones aren’t your average drones. They’re custom built for speed, agility, and performance.
In order to be precise when racing, most pilots control their drones from the drone’s point of view by wearing First Person View (FPV) goggles. These goggles transmit a live feed to the pilot thanks to an onboard camera.
As stated before, racing drones aren’t your average drones. A racing drone is a small quadcopter drone that is purpose-built to compete in FPV (first person view) racing and other drone racing events.
So what makes a racing drone so special?
Racing drones are designed for forward flight, unlike other aerial drones which are used mostly for elevation. Unlike aerial drones, racing drones have their cameras positioned in front and not underneath like aerial drones.
Racing drones have a piece of equipment called “Electronic Speed Controllers” which adjust the amount of power that goes to motors, allowing them to speed up quickly or slow down suddenly. The drones are controlled by flight controllers.
Racing drones are not lightweight. They are built to be durable. Their frame is built from lightweight carbon fiber which helps to withstand impact.
Drone Racing: The New ESports
The event at the Lizzy Sports complex was to showcase the racing drones and show what they could do. Going forward, Kwamena Hazel hopes to start training sessions for young kids and adults to be pilots. He wants to get more people involved in learning how to race and to compete in drone racing events all over the world.
It might seem like nothing. But the same could be said for competitive video gaming. Competitive video game competitions are getting bigger and bigger with more cash prizes ($1 million) going to overall winners. Could Drone Racing become that new thing? There is an official drone racing league where people from all over the world compete and more and more sponsors such as ESPN and Allianz are coming onboard.
If Kwamena’s plan succeeds and he gets competitive pilots from Ghana to compete, don’t be surprised if we have competitive drone races in Ghana and eventually have a young Ghanaian win one of these competitive leagues in other parts of the world.
Drone Racing looks like the future. Aero Shutter and their new initiative, Aero Arcade looks ready to take flight.
Check out highlights from the Drone Racing showcase which was held at Lizzy Complex below.
Joseph-Albert Kuuire is the creator and editor of TechNovaGh.com, an online digital platform focusing on technology in Ghana.
I’m also a UX Designer, book reader, and tech enthusiast (duh!)
Email: [email protected]