Drone pilots battle it out in Star Wars-inspired race through French forest

17 pictures

Like a scene out of Star Wars, French drone enthusiasts raced their vehicles through the forest ...

Like a scene out of Star Wars, French drone enthusiasts raced their vehicles through the forest in a test of their piloting ability. View gallery (17 images)

Here's one for Star Wars diehards. A group of drone pilots have taken their vehicles to a dense forest in the French Alps, weaving in and out of trees in a spectacle that paid homage to the high-stakes pod races of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

It is the first of such events held by the Airgonay drone club, but its president Herve Pellarin hopes its success can inspire like-minded drone enthusiasts around the globe to put their skills to the test.

Twenty-four competitors raced their drones through the 150 m (492 ft) course, the field made up of quadcopters and multicopters customized for an optimal balance of speed and agility. Having to contend with obstacles such as trees, rival drones, low-hanging branches and sharp contrasts in lighting, the racers darted through the forest at speeds as high as 50 km/h (31 mph).

Competing in groups of four, the pilots viewed all the action through goggles, which were fed a stream from micro-cameras built into the front of the drones. The race required them to complete three laps, something Pellarin described as quite an achievement given the inherent difficulties in flying drones through thick forest at high speeds.

He says the club will look to grow the event next year by attracting international drone pilots and live streaming all the action from the race.

You can check out the drone races in the video below.

View gallery - 17 images
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