Is Drone Racing a Future of E-sport?

Drones are very popular among modern generations because of their technical oddities and stunning looks. They are incredibly versatile. In addition to providing effective and sustainable solutions to several industries, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are also being used for sports. Singapore introduced the Regulations of the Civil Aviation Authority Regulations two years ago, requiring the registration of all unmanned flying vehicles weighing more than 250g. However, the small size means they do not require registration, and we can take it up and enjoy it indoors with close-quarters flying.

Small sized drone flying over the palm of a person.
Photo by Dose Media on Unsplash

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Drone racing has become the premier form of e-sports, empowering young people and creating great commercial value. According to data from market research and advisory firm Polaris Market Research, the global drone racing market will grow from $ 421 million in 2019 to $ 2.1 billion (S $ 2.9 billion) by 2026.

A new Whoop Arena is the 1st drone racing arena. This pop-up store is in Sim Min Lane, Midview City in Singapore. For beginners, this form of drone racing is known as FPV (First Person View) - a different level of flying, and TinyWhoop is a small form of a quadcopter with a built-in camera.

So How Do You Get This to Fly?

In contrast to traditional drone flight, pilots observe the drone through the onboard camera. You can feel that your body does not physically fly with the drone, but the mind and spirit fly like an out-of-body, with goggles on the eyes, a controller in hand, and the drone flying in the air experience. At the Whoop Arena, participants are able to fly a "tiny whoop" (a drone weighing less than 250g that fits in the palm of their hand) into a dark room about 750 square feet or slightly larger than three rooms and then, go through an obstacle course illuminated by LED lights. Visitors can not only fly in free and accessible open areas with marker cones but also test their pilot skills using a preset Tinywhoop drone truck. Various obstacles, consisting of hoops, cones, bars, tunnels, and everyday furniture, are strategically placed along the course for the ultimate pilot test.

The Whoop Arena also has modes other than pure flight to add entertainment. For example, you can shoot down a drone with a Nerf gun!

In addition to flying drones and racing, Whoop Arena offers activities such as steam workshops where you can program your drone.

For those who want to explore the drone professionally, it's like a commercial pilot in the sense that the pilot's skills, technical knowledge, legislation, judgment, and experience all come together when running services on the drone's application. Aside from flying, the knowledge you can gain along the road, such as electronics, radio signals, aerodynamics, video transmission, GPS, batteries, and so on, can be valuable and enriching.

Does Drone Racing Have a Future in Singapore?

Some believe that there is more that can be done to help the sport grow. By giving ambitious racers the opportunity to make a living from drone racing, venue owners can also encourage the use of their property to host the race.