Fly Online with Drone Simulators
Image Credit: The Drone Racing League Simulator
When you think of drones, your first thought might be flying around exotic locales and scenic aerial shots. Even though that is prevalent, many pilots are doing things other than photography with their drones. For example, FPV racing is steadily gaining popularity in the drone world and the mainstream. For the uninitiated, FPV drone racing is a sport where pilots wear special goggles that give them a First-Person-View from their drone while they race others through specially designed tracks.
We’ve discussed drone racing extensively on this blog, specifically in regards to the professional drone racing league and the World Air Sports Federation, and have encouraged others to take part. However, with persisting concerns related to the Coronavirus, you may still be wary about going outside. Not to mention, the CDC is still encouraging people to stay at home. While there are many other things you can do with your drone at home, don’t discount FPV racing. You can still get some practice in or even do all your racing using a drone simulator.
Video Credit: Drone Racing League
DRL SIM 3.0 is the latest iteration of the professional Drone Racing League’s drone simulator. Advertising for this version of the simulator places an emphasis on the DRL’s dedication to developing the sim’s physics. In their announcement video, DRL boasts about enlisting experts, like aeronautical engineer Sage Thayer and Dr. Marilyn Smith, a Nonlinear Computational Aeroelasticity, and working with real data to produce a more accurate simulation. This version also includes updates to maps and multiplayer functions and other exciting features like a mapmaker, spectator modes, social chat, Twitch tournaments, and training. The introduction video uploaded to their YouTube channel ends with the tagline, “Sim life should be practice life”.
Image Credit: DCL - The Game
Drone Champions League (DCL)
Drone Champions League, which describes itself as “the world's leading championship for professional drone racing teams”, is also backing their own drone racing game. Published in February, DCL the game is a collaboration between DCL and THQ Nordic, a global video game publisher and developer. It is advertised as having over 30 tracks, a worldwide userbase, and four flight modes: Arcade, GPS, Angle, and Acro. On their release trailer, the description states that they believe their game to be so realistic that pilots can use it to “train their actual control skills and qualify for the official Drone Champions League to start a career as a professional Drone Pilot.” DCL emphasizes competition in their promotion of this simulator and even has a virtual season that will be underway next month.
Image Credit: VelociDrone
VelociDrone is a smaller drone simulator, but it has popular features like online multiplayer and track editing. Other key features of this sim include its use of frame models from real-world manufacturers (“This means you can get the feel of some of the top frames in the industry before you buy.”) and their Time Attack mode which is meant to help you improve by allowing them to race against yourself. If you’re interested in competition, they also have various leaderboards that are accessible on their site. While not as advanced as the other simulators, VelociDrone still has a dedicated user base from around the world. If you’re interested in trying it out, they offer a free trial.
I am a writer and an artist based in Georgia. Specializing in illustration, graphic design, and video art, I love to explore the new ways technology intersects with art. I think drones have done amazing things for photography and video art, making what would previously be costly and difficult more accessible. As a complete novice, it was only recently that I saw what independent artists could do with their drones, and I continue to be impressed by the sights that drones are able to explore and the images they can capture. Instagram: @tyesha.ferron