Since the heroes of comics and computer games appeared on the big screen and actors of flesh and blood began to play these characters, it became clear that a new era had begun. The line between the drawn and the real began to slowly blur. Now the tangible can easily go into virtual, and from there return in a new guise. It was all semi-philosophical reasoning, and here is an interesting example.
Since the mid-2010s, so-called drone racing has become popular in the world. Team representatives compete wearing electronic goggles, which make it possible to see the drone's flight from the first person perspective. The control is carried out using a remote control resembling a control post from a game console.
We flew into the mine
For such competitions, special areas are being prepared, equipped with various objects (gates, corridors, towers and other fantasy gizmos) through which the pilot must guide his drone, or which must be flown at high speed - after all, you still have to keep within time. There are many federations that hold such championships in the world. One of them, the Drone Champions League (DCL), was formed in the principality of Liechtenstein by the co-founder of the sports marketing agency Herbert Weirater. DCL Championships are held on a system reminiscent of Formula 1: this is a series of annual Grand Prix, which are held in different cities in Europe (and China). Teams representing Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Great Britain, as well as several international teams participate in the competition. Places for racing are sometimes very exotic - for example, the famous salt mine in Turda (Romania).
From beginner to pro
To popularize racing, the DCL management took an interesting step: the DCL Game computer game was developed, which went on sale this year. Unlike professional races in real life, broadcast by sports TV channels, everyone can take part in the game. At the same time, the drone control is very realistic and requires almost the same skills that are required for a real racer pilot. Moreover, the game reproduces in high detail the venues that have already hosted the Grand Prix. In fact, a player who has managed to achieve high results in the DCL Game becomes a 100% candidate for going from virtual to real life and is ready to try himself as a professional racer. Moreover, the game is designed to qualify pilots before being admitted to the Grand Prix. It must be said that DCL is not the only drone racing league that has created a virtual analogue to its competition. However, the federation from Liechtenstein took another step, which became a small sensation in 2020.
“We started out with very small drones … and then we made more and more of them, but people still said they were too small. now we've made a really big drone, which means we can basically do manned races one day. " Herbert Wyrather
A passenger but not a pilot?
Last February, the Big Drone was presented to the public - a twelve-rotor all-electric unmanned aerial vehicle, very similar to the drones that race in the Grand Prix, and those with which you can fly in the virtual space of the DCL Game. Only the sizes were different. The new car has a passenger seat and, with a length of about 5 m and a dead weight of 98 kg, it can lift a person weighing up to 69 kg into the air! And that was done. On the landing site near the Croatian city of Vrsar, the president and founder of DCL Herbert Vairater himself boarded the Big Drone. From the ground, the car was driven (as usual with electronic glasses and a remote control) by former DCL racer and multi-discipline champion Mirko Cesena.
They did not risk the life and health of the VIP, and the drone with the passenger only briefly lifted off the ground and then softly landed. But then a dummy was hoisted into the cockpit, and then Big Drone showed everything he was capable of. Flying around the vicinity of Vrsar, the car twisted barrels, loops and other figures, developing a speed of up to 140 km / h. What's next? Considering that one of the DCL sponsors is the well-known patron of technical sports - Red Bull, and the Red Bull Air Race series of air races on aerobatic aircraft is one of the most popular competitions in the world, it can be assumed that in some foreseeable future (when technology Big Drone will be perfected) we will be able to witness a similar series of aerobatics races, where electric multicopters with a person on board will participate. Only a legitimate question arises: will this person be able to independently control such a machine or will a real pilot be on the ground (as it was during the Big Drone tests in Vrsar)? In the latter case, there are hardly many people willing to take the passenger seat.