It’s exhilarating, it’s dangerous, and it’s happening. Contrary to common sense and good advice, young geeks are taking part in a dangerous game, racing against each other in real life, flying machines.
Passenger Optimized Drones, or PODs are the nearest thing we have to flying cars. The problem is, they don’t have wheels, so they’re not cars, and the batteries don’t last long enough for a serious journey, so they’re not really useful for travel; and with only one passenger (or pilot) they’re more like a flying motorbike than a car.
But they are perfect for thrill seekers; daredevils who want to pit their skills against all comers. PODs are not difficult to fly, crammed as they are with self-stabilizing software, but if you push the envelope, anything can go wrong, and the consequences are severe.
Which is why POD racing is like the old days of hot rods – slightly illegal, and only for the brave. It’s certainly not sanctioned by the authorities, and there are no official courses. But everyone is watching on VR, and it’s quite addictive.
PODs race just a few metres above the ground, hurtling through hoops and gates, and over obstacles, to stay on the course. They all use electric motors and gel spun nanofiber props. It’s the only way to compete. Races last just seven minutes, and the rules are few. First one over the line is the winner, and only four riders can compete in a heat.
So what’s all the fuss about? The thing is, like any new tech, something that captures the imagination is bound to become mainstream in the future. Remember the first racing cars, and how that morphed into Formula 1, a multi-million dollar global sport? To say nothing of the automotive industry spin offs.
POD racing is taking off. And that means business – big business!