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Goal-Seeking Drones: Understanding Drone Soccer in 2024

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Drone Soccer Cover Image

In the realm where technology meets sports, a captivating fusion has emerged—Drone Soccer. Combining the likes of the traditional sport soccer, with the technological innovation of drones, this sport has garnered attention for its unique blend of robotics and competition, bringing a new dimension to the world of Machina Sports entertainment.

What is Drone Soccer?

Drone Soccer is a fast-paced, futuristic sport where teams of drones face off in a small soccer-like arena. These agile unmanned aerial vehicles, equipped with sensors and controlled by skilled pilots, engage in a thrilling aerial ballet as they attempt to score goals against the opposing team. Only one player on each team, the striker, can score a goal by flying his or her drone through the circular goalpost. The remaining players can only help their striker or prevent the opposition’s striker from scoring by protecting their goal. The drones used in these races are typically quadcopters, encapsulated within an elastic-plastic to allow for collisions. These drones are also equipped with cameras to provide a first-person view (FPV) to the pilot. The pilots wear FPV goggles that display the live video feed from the drone’s camera, allowing them to navigate the course as if they were sitting in the cockpit of the drone. The combination of precision flying, strategic gameplay, and technological prowess makes Drone Soccer an electrifying spectacle for soccer, drone, and gaming fans.

To know more in detail about Drone Soccer, check out – FuturePlay Drone Soccer Guide.

Technological Behind Drone Soccer

One of the key drivers of drone soccer’s development is the continuous technological advancements in drone technology. Innovations in drone design, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality are expected to elevate the sport to new heights, offering fans an even more immersive and thrilling experience. Drones have become more sophisticated, with improved speed, agility, and durability. Incorporating smart sensors and artificial intelligence algorithms into drones can elevate the level of competition. This could lead to drones that can autonomously avoid obstacles, or make split decisions, adding an extra layer of complexity to the matches. The integration of high-quality cameras and low-latency video transmission systems has enhanced the FPV experience for pilots, making matches more immersive and engaging.

Competitive Leagues

Drone Champions League (DCL)

Modeled after traditional soccer leagues, the Drone Champions League is a premier global competition that features top-tier Drone Soccer teams. With events held in iconic locations, such as city centers and historic sites, DCL aims to bring the sport to a broader audience and showcase the agility and speed of these airborne athletes.

United States Drone Soccer League

Ongoing league bringing competitors of all ages from the US head to head to see who’s the best drone soccer team. Starting January 1st to February 20th, the league is having district qualifiers to see the best teams from different regions of the country. The event consists of single-day competitions of 4-12 teams to determine who will be going to state or district championships. Following the qualifiers, the district championships will be held on March 3rd, 10th, and 17th. Finally, the best of the best come together to see who is the national champion from April 19th-22nd. The winners of 2023, were Team Sato Red Dragons from Long Beach, California. This team competed against 12 other teams represented by Alabama, California, Colorado, and New York. Having 17 players on their team, they competed as 3 different teams. Because they are the champions, in 2024 they will have the first right of refusal to compete. 

What lies ahead?

Drone Soccer has carved out a niche in the ever-evolving landscape of sports, blending the cutting-edge technology of drones with the competitive spirit of traditional soccer. As the sport gains traction and more leagues emerge, enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the next breathtaking goal and acrobatic maneuver in this dynamic and futuristic game. Local drone soccer clubs and communities are forming, providing enthusiasts with opportunities to participate in the sport, share knowledge, and organize friendly matches. These grassroots initiatives would contribute to the growth of drone soccer and help build a supportive community around the sport. Drone soccer also is finding its way into educational programs, especially those focused on STEM education. Schools and educational institutions can use drone soccer as a tool to teach students about robotics, engineering, and computer programming in a fun interactive way.

A lifelong sports enthusiast with a recent interest in technology, Web3, and cryptocurrency. Every weekend you can find me watching football(soccer) and keeping up to date with stocks and crypto. Writing about the things I love and hopefully painting a picture for the reader.

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From Passion to Full Time career — how Thomas Bitmatta changed his life — and so can you

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Changing Passion in a lucrative career

Thumbnail from YouTube interview with Thomas

There’s a moment in life when you stand at the edge of a decision. 

Before you, lies the comfortable, the known. Behind you, the whisper of what could be beckons — a call to adventure that won’t silence. For Thomas Bitmatta, known in the drone racing skies as BMS Thomas, that moment wasn’t just a fleeting thought. It was a crossroads. And his choice? To leap.

Thomas’s story isn’t one of overnight success or serendipitous luck. 

No. 

It’s a narrative hewn from the bedrock of passion, a relentless pursuit of mastery in the fast world of FPV (First-Person View) drone racing. In the grand scheme of life’s pursuits, Thomas chose a path less taken, and it has made all the difference.

The Ascent Begins

Imagine, for a moment, a hobby. 

Now watch as that hobby turns into an obsession, that obsession into a calling. This is the genesis of BMS Thomas’s journey from an intrigued enthusiast dabbling in drone flights to becoming a beloved icon in the global drone racing community.

“Today, I bring you the story of a dreamer who dared to chase his dreams across the skies.”

Thomas’s story began quietly in Australia, sparked by a simple YouTube video. 

Fast forward through years of tinkering, learning, and countless flights, and you find the moment where hobby crossed into destiny. Thomas didn’t just enter the world of drone racing; he redefined his life’s trajectory with a racing drone’s throttle.

Racing Against the Wind

In conversation, Thomas shared insights of his early days, reminiscing about the makeshift races in Melbourne, the allure of the Japan drone league, and his subsequent ascension to international fame. Each race, each flight was more than competition; it was a chapter in his ongoing tale of self-discovery and perseverance.

“It’s more than just flying,” Thomas reflected. “It’s about pushing boundaries, both the drones and my own.”

His journey highlights not merely the evolution of a racer but the transformation of a life through passion. Amidst talks of tracks, technicalities, and tournaments, there’s a subtle yet profound message: dedication, coupled with a love for one’s craft, can elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary.

Navigating Through Turbulence

Yet, the path was not free of challenges. In his chase for passion, Thomas navigated through rough moments — balancing the demands of competitive racing with the rigours of building a career. Sponsorships didn’t come easy, nor did the recognition. It demanded more than skill; it required visibility, influence, and a deep-seated belief in the value of his pursuit.

“And then, something clicked. The right place, the right time, and suddenly, the support came.”

Thomas’s narrative serves as a beacon for anyone standing on the brink of pursuing their dream. It’s a testament to the truth that success, in any field, is a concoction of passion, persistence, and a willingness to forge ahead despite the odds.

Can you do it as well?

Today, BMS Thomas continues to race, not just as a competitor but as an inspiration. His journey tells us that to follow one’s passion is not to walk a path free of obstacles, but to navigate through storms, propelled by the heart.

“If there’s anything my journey has taught me,” Thomas said, “it’s that dreams are not just fleeting whims. They are the seeds of our future.”

See, life, much like drone racing, is not about the fear of falling. It’s about the thrill of flight, the pursuit of passions, and the unwavering courage to chase the horizon, no matter where it leads.

And so, to anyone teetering on the edge of decision, remember BMS Thomas. Remember that when passion takes flight, the sky’s not the limit — it’s just the beginning.

Watch the full interview with Thomas here

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What Makes Killian Rousseau Such a Dominant Drone Pilot?

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Drone Racing Pilot

Killian Rousseau, hailing from France, has been ripping up drone racing competitions since he was just 14 years old. The French ace pilot became the 2018 FAI Drone Racing World Cup champion as a teenager!

In 2023, Rousseau once again won the FAI Drone Racing World Cup. The young pilot was in a close back-and-forth battle with Pawel Laszczak. In all six races, Rousseau managed to climb onto the podium, racking up three wins, two silvers, and a bronze. This level of consistency ensured he added another title to his already impressive collection.

In a recent interview, the world champion shared his secrets and what it takes to become a professional pilot.

Rousseau Trains Everday!

The French pilot has put all other things on the back burner and has committed 100% of his efforts towards racing. He spends every day on the simulator fine-tuning his motor skills and perfecting his strategy. Then, every two days, he pilots actual drones.

Rousseau is extremely keen to defend his world title. He’ll be traveling and competing full-time throughout the season. He’s keen to avenge his poor performance at the last World Championships, where he finished 18th.

Another event you’re likely to see Rousseau compete in is The World Games in 2025 in Chengdu. He considers this event to be particularly tough and an honor to be invited. Rousseau is hoping to repeat his 2022 World Games performance, in which he took gold.

French Pilot Looks for New Ways to Make Money From Drone Racing

Rousseau has recently finished studying commerce and can now dedicate even more time to drone racing, which is a scary thought for his opponents. Traveling to different competitions and daily training takes up a huge amount of the 20-year-old’s time.

As prize pools for drone racing are still modest, Rousseau has decided to boost his income by starting his own drone filming company. However, his first love and main focus remains drone racing.

The French drone maestro can’t get enough of the feeling of beating other talented pilots on beautiful tracks around the world. Even though traveling can get tiring, he loves exploring new places with his fellow pilots.

Simulator and Never Quit Attitude Is Key to Rousseau’s Success

Rousseau first started drone racing when he was just 12 years old, back in 2017. Since then, he hasn’t taken any time off. He’s incredibly diligent when it comes to training and is constantly looking over his shoulder at the next generation of pilots.

He says the race meta is changing radically from year to year, so it’s a never-ending battle to stay ahead of other competitors. He has to dedicate a huge amount of time to practice.

Rousseau credits purchasing a simulator with allowing him to continue to improve. He spends hours everyday, often practing into the early morning, pumping out lap after lap. F1 champion Max Verstappen is also known for his love of simulators.

Before and after every race, Rousseau will hop on the simular and race over and over again. He’s gained so much experience over the years that racing has become second nature to him. He demands perfection from himself, repeatedly tweaking his strategy and chasing consistency.

Rousseau Shares Advice for Up-and-coming Drone Pilots

Even though Rousseau has managed to become a full-time professional drone pilot, he doesn’t recommend others to follow his path. He believes young pilots should still focus on school and work and make sure they’re racing because they love the sport instead of trying to make a career.

Rousseau said what helped him the most was meeting experienced drone pilots and flying with them. He also emphasized the importance of competing as much as possible. Finally, he said there are a lot of ups and downs in drone racing, so it’s incredibly important that you never quit until you finally succeed.

The 2024 FAI World Drone Championships will take place in China from Thursday, October 31, to Sunday, November 3, 2024. The event will be held in Hangzhou at the Shangcheng District Sports Center. Tune in to see if Rousseau can take out defending champion MinChan Kim. It’s set to be a battle between the two ace pilots!

Read more: FPV Drone Racing Explained

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From Classroom to Pro Drone Racing Pilot

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PawelosFPV origin story


In an age where conventional education is often challenged by the fast pace of technological advancement, the tale of Pawel Lasszczak, known in the FPV (First Person View) drone racing community as PawelosFPV, is a testament to the power of hands-on learning experiences. 

While traditional classroom settings and textbook learning remain the base of our educational systems. The innovative, project-based learning approaches that are increasingly proving to shape the minds and futures of children and teenagers more effectively. 

For real though: Who’s shocked?

This blend of creativity, curiosity, and practical application not only ignites passions, but also paves the way for remarkable achievements.

“A Genius Hour” That Sparked a Revolution

It all began in a classroom with a concept as simple as it was brilliant — Genius Hour. This initiative granted students an hour each week to explore a project of their choosing. Anything that fueled their interests and stretched their imagination beyond the standard curriculum.

For Pawel, what started as a quest for an engaging project during this Genius Hour quickly evolved into a journey that would see him fly to incredible heights — quite literally.

Stumbling upon FPV drones on YouTube during his project research, Pawel was instantly captivated by the perspectives this hobby offered. The mix of technology, speed, and skill presented a challenge he couldn’t resist. 

Trial and error

However, following up with the process wasn’t a straightforward path; it was filled with trial and error (many, many errors). A testament to the real-world nature of hands-on learning. From reversing propellers that dug his drone into the ground, Pawel’s initiation into drone flying was both grounding and ambitious.

But isn’t this how we learn? 

Despite the setbacks, his determination only grew, driven by a desire to decode the mechanics and master flying. This journey from novice to mastery was also a crucial lesson in resilience, innovation, and the continuous pursuit of knowledge . A lesson that traditional textbooks could never impart with such impact.

Rising to the Top: From Local FPV Races to the Drone Racing League

It was obvious he’d get into it.

Pawel’s entry into the competitive world of drone racing started with local FPV races and small gatherings of hobbyists. Little did he know that this would lay the foundation for his racing career. He was hooked from the start, the competitive spirit and community fueling his passion further. It wasn’t long before his skill and dedication catapulted him to the front of the FPV scene, eventually earning him a coveted spot in the Drone Racing League (DRL) — a dream platform for any FPV racer.

His success story is more than just personal achievement; it’s a beacon for the FPV community and beyond. It showcases the potential that lies in marrying passion with education, and how nurturing individual interests can lead to groundbreaking success in fields that once seemed niche or inaccessible.

Crafting a Future with STEM and Hands-On Learning

Pawel’s journey from a school project to becoming one of the world’s foremost FPV drone racing pilots is a powerful narrative that challenges and inspires. It serves as a clarion call for the incorporation of more STEM and hands-on programs in schools. 

These programs are not just supplementary; they are essential in preparing students for a future that is increasingly reliant on technology and innovation. Much more than books and “imagine that” will ever be able to (speaking from experience).

In a world where the landscape of careers and skills is constantly shifting, the story of Pawel emphasises the need for educational systems to evolve.

And to do it RIGHT NOW.

We must foster environments where creativity meets technology, where students are encouraged to explore, experiment, and engage with their passions. Only then can we unlock the full potential of the next generation, ensuring a future that is bright with innovation and boundless possibilities.

Before they start fearing that AI will take over. 

As Pawel continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of drone racing, he stands as a shining example of how hands-on learning and personal passion. A proof that they can elevate one’s aspirations from the ground to the skies. 

It’s a lesson for educators, policymakers, and students alike: the future belongs to those who dare to dream, explore, and most importantly, do.

If you want to listen to the full interview and see Pawel in action: check out video


Thank you for reading!

Check out FuturePlay here

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