Fans of the Star Wars movie series certainly are familiar with Pod racing. Fans were first introduced to the concept in 1983’s Episode VI: Return of the Jedi when there was a terrific chase scene on the fictional moon of Endor. We got a great look at Pod racing again in 1999’s largely forgettable Episode I: The Phantom Menace in what is largely considered one of the few good things about the prequel film.
There’s no question that the Pod scenes are nearly as cool as the light saber duels. And if you’re anything like us, you’ve surely daydreamed about driving Pods in real life. Like, seriously, how cool would that be?
Well those days are closer to reality than you might think. We’ll get to more of that in a second. First, it’s important to let you know why Pod racing is more reality than pipe dream. Drones. Yes, drones. Also known as “UAVs,” or “unmanned aerial vehicles,” drones have been used for things like deploying supplies to citizens in war torn countries, border security, military spying and other surveillance purposes.
Drones are also the reason why Pod racing may be on the rise. Take a recent event that occurred in the woods of France, for instance. Organized by Airgonay, a quadcopter racing fanatic association, two dozen experienced drone pilots gathered for the event to race their “Pods” through an obstacle course, using remote control and relying on a front-facing camera installed on the drone for maneuvering purposes. So while the participants aren’t exactly sitting on the drones and racing them through the course, they’re doing the next best thing in controlling them remotely.
Oh, and as if this whole real-life Pod racing couldn’t get any cooler, the Airgonay group says that it plans to outfit their quadcopter drones with sensors in the future that will simulate laser blasts. Nothing like adding a little bit of spice to the event!
But there’s one catch when using these drones compared to racing the Pods from the Star Wars movies – crash and you’re out potentially hundreds of dollars. In the event hosted by Airgonay, which you can view below in a condensed five-minute demonstration (Note: Unless you speak French, be sure to click the English subtitle option), crashes and damage were minor, but just by watching the races unfold, you can get a sense for how destructive the races may be.
Star Wars has inspired a lot of cool things, but we’ve yet to really be able to mimic Pod racing. Not anymore. Witness Pod racing as close to reality as it gets for now. and stay tuned for future developments. Who knows, maybe some day in the not too distant future, we’ll be able to mimic young Anakin Skywalker in a real, live action race.