Drone soccer is making waves at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, as teams face off in a fast-paced, action-packed game. The drones, remotely controlled from outside the playing field, soar through the air and engage in intense battles with each other. The objective is to score points by maneuvering a drone through the opposing team’s hoop. The sport, created in South Korea in 2016, has gained popularity across 20 countries, with over 2,000 teams in South Korea alone.
Sean Greenhalgh, a professional drone soccer player and captain of Team U.S., discovered the sport during a drone photography course. Greenhalgh now teaches the sport to children and is excited about the future of drone soccer. He believes that the sport has the potential to become as huge as regular football, attracting billions of fans worldwide. The first drone soccer pro league was launched last year, and plans for the first Drone Soccer World Cup in 2025 are underway.
In a recent exhibition match at CES, the red team led 6-4 in a fierce competition. The rules dictate that only the team’s main attacker can score, and after each goal, the hoop turns red for a few seconds. If the attacker encounters technical difficulties, a teammate takes over as the scorer. The drones must adhere to specific weight restrictions, with each drone weighing no more than 1.2 kilos (2.65 pounds), including the battery pack.
The game is played in three three-minute periods, with five-minute breaks in between for repairs and recalibration. The fast-paced nature of the sport keeps viewers entertained, as the drones zip around the field, colliding with each other and bouncing off the ground in pursuit of victory. The exhibition match ended in an 11-11 draw, showcasing the competitiveness and skill involved in drone soccer.
With the sport rapidly spreading, the goal is to see drone soccer become a global sensation, attracting billions of fans like traditional football. The president of the Federation of International DroneSoccer Association (FIDA), Ro Sang-heub, envisions a future where drone soccer is included in the Olympics. The sport has already captured the attention of thousands of young people, who are not only learning the game but also the maintenance of the drones.
As CES attendees marvel at the drone soccer exhibition, the future of the sport looks bright. The dynamic gameplay, combined with the excitement of drone technology, makes drone soccer a unique and thrilling experience for both players and spectators. As the sport continues to grow, it could revolutionize the world of competitive sports, merging the realms of technology and athleticism in a captivating way.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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