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Underground FPV Drone Racing is the Geek Sport of the Future

This craziness, brought to us by ABC News Australia, offers a peak into the world of underground quadcopter racing, a growing sport in the land down under. But the dizzying video doesn’t just show what’s being recorded by the copters, it shows what’s being seen by the pilots that fly them.

Known as first-person-view (FVP) racing, the pilots involved are aided by special goggles that stream a live feed from tiny cameras onboard their drones. They have to react fast – controlling the vehicles as if they were actually sitting inside of them, whizzing around at 60 miles-per-hour. (I would vomit. Repeatedly.)

“About 30 drone racers gathered for [this] high-speed showdown,” reports ABC’s Jason Om. “They spent hours custom building their multi-rotor machines and fitting them with cameras – some of them just held together with gaffer tape.”

For obvious reason, Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has strict regulations for operating drones in open airspace, but here, in an abandoned warehouse just outside of Melbourne, racers can fly outside of CASA’s jurisdiction.

“It’s like playing a video game. It’s fast. The more you do it the more you want to fly,” drone hobbyist Darren French told Om. “It’s definitely becoming a sport as we start to race more, [and in more places]. Like any sport, it evolves, so I’m looking forward to it becoming more professional.” And in fact, it already has been: the U.S. will host its first National FPV Drone Championships in July – a competition that boasts a $10,000 grand prize.

We’ll certainly be keeping tabs on the competition as it unfolds, but in the meantime, check out some awesome shots from the Melbourne race in the gallery, here.

IMAGES: Brant Cumming

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