Working at the forefront of disruptive design, we study trends, technology and human behaviour in order to predict future products, experiences and services. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Commercial Drones are exciting frontiers that have the potential to overlap. Although drone technology has been around for a long time, recreational and non-military usage has only recently gained widespread adoption.
From sending supplies, to flying surveillance cameras, to robotic companions, drones are quickly becoming part of mainstream public services. Many businesses are looking at how the disruptive technology could enhance their systems and services but infrastructures are still in their infancy to support deep adoption. Public perception and acceptance could still be issue as the industry expands, however one such niche where this is not a hindrance is in the entertainment market.
Drones have already changed how many shots are achieved in film production, and drones are now beginning to breed yet another level of disruption using camera technology, this time in competitive racing. Starting as an amateur sport in Australia around 2012, professional drone racing companies such as Drone Racing League (DRL) and Aerial Sports League (ASL) are starting to elevate their profile with ambitions to be the next Formula 1. FAI, the world governing body for airsports, has already introduced a sporting code, and sanctions the First Person Viewer (FPV) Racing events.
FPV drone racing involves pilots who wear virtual-reality style video headsets connected to front-facing cameras on the drones. The body of these aerial vehicles requires chassis and plates that are designed to be robust, modular and quickly replaced at pit-stop speeds. They require iconic lighting to make the short crafts recognisable to spectators while they fly at breakneck speeds through stadiums and custom-built tracks, and they also need ergonomic, performance-driven controls to fly competitively. Drone races are won based on completion times, checkpoints or in some cases last drone standing. With drone racing videos hitting multiple millions of views online the new sport is set to soar.