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Watch these drones fight to the death

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 8:04am
Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor

In the world of drones, there exists an underground fight club where different UAVs go head-to-head trying to destroy each other. Alright, that’s a little dramatized, but the drones really do battle each other in a BattleBot-style arena. Marque Cornblatt, co-founder of the group Game of Drones, says it’s all about aerial combat and going drono-a-drono for victory.

This particular video (courtesy of Tested) was taken at Maker Faire, and it showcases something very interesting about the fights. While people seem to enjoy watching the drones attack, they also really enjoy learning about the engineering behind the drone, which is a good thing when you consider a lot of the time is spent repairing the quadcopters.

The rules of the game are simple: the first person to hit the floor three times loses. Once a drone hits the ground, on-the-fly repairs are usually in order. This requires quick thinking and an extensive knowledge of how to repair the drones, which is something that the crowd really likes to see.

 

There aren’t any real rules about what kind of drones can compete, though they do have to be quadcopters. There are commercial drones aplenty, but also handmade and custom drones that add a little excitement. The components run the gamut from 3D printed to hardware store-created to laser cut. If they can fly, they can fight. Cornblatt even notes that the hand-built designs usually do better because they’re created with fighting in mind.

The future of these fights is probably in the offensive designs. The teams have become pretty good at creating quadcopters that are difficult to destroy, so everyone has to be a little more attack-driven. Projectiles, fire, chemicals and other dangerous add-ons were prohibited for safety reasons at Maker Faire, but are seen in other private fights. Offensive options for the Maker Faire can include strings or nets hanging down to trap the other drone or anything on the arms that can stop a blade from spinning.

It sounds like outside the Maker Faire fights, these can get pretty hardcore. If the creators aren’t limited by safety concerns or space issues, they can bring what Cornblatt calls “extremely aggressive” machines. This includes, but is not limited to: paintball, flame throwers, and airsoft guns.

While Cornblatt says it’s similar to Fight Club in that “if it flies, it fights,”  he clearly doesn’t know the first or second rules of Fight Club.

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