Updated 10:12 AM EST, Sat, Jan 18, 2020

Chile Organizes First Drone Race in Latin America

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On Saturday, the first drone race in Latin America will happen in Chile, attracting robotics enthusiasts and fans in the country.

Gizmodo reported that, aside from taking photos and videos using action cameras, commercial drones can also be used for competitive races in various countries.

As the first in Latin America, the drone race in Valparaiso, Chile, was reportedly organized by the School of Civil Engineering Telematics at the Technical University Federico Santa Maria (UTFSM) and the Chilean Federation of Drones.

The drone competition will be monitored through the cameras attached to the drones. Gizmodo added that the racers will use the footage taken by the camera during the competition and it is expected to look like "Star Wars" speed chases.

Dubbed as the USM Race, the competition will have entries from all around Latin America like Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil.

The same report noted that this kind of race is not new since speed drones have been made for such competitions.

According to Prensa Libre, pilots in the race will be required to demonstrate skills in flying like "Fail-Safe" or the decision to stop flying when contact with the radio station is lost.

Drones are also expected to have "a minimum acceptable standard" of mechanical and electronic capability and the ability to record videos using action cameras.

They will be judged based on the video feed of the activities of the pilots, cameras and the timing systems.

ArsTechnica noted that there has been an underground movement to turn drone-flying into a sport. It is said to be dubbed as the FPV or the first-person view drone racing (also known as the FPV quadcopter racing).

In this budding sport, engineers and robotics enthusiasts make and modify their own quadcopters to have faster speed and better manoeuvrability.

As per ArsTechnica, these racing drones are also equipped with a virtual-reality video for competitors to have a live feed of the video captured by the drone cameras.

"Racers compete in heats or time trials, speeding around courses at anything up to 60mph (100km/h)-and having a load of fun in the process," explained the same report.

Aside from flying and racing with one another, the sport also involves crashes, smashes and collisions of drones which have already become part of the competition.

To be able to fly and hold FPV races properly, PC World advised organizers and drone racers to understand what "safe flying" means and not just conduct their races anywhere.

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