Have a need for speed? Learn to race drones with Fat Shark’s 101 training kit

Most of us have played a racing video game at some point, and whether it was a full-on simulator like Forza Motorsport 7 or one of those ridiculous snowmobile arcade games with the vibrating seat, you probably felt the thrill of what it’s like to go fast.

Actually going fast is dangerous, though, and expensive if you want to do it safely. Thanks to Fat Shark, you can learn to race with two feet planted on the ground — by utilizing a first-person view (FPV) headset and a microdrone from the Fat Shark 101 drone training system.

At this year’s CES Drone Rodeo in Las Vegas, we spoke with Grant Martin (see above), vice president of marketing for Fat Shark, who gave us some insight into the thought process behind the training kit: “A lot of people have seen drone racing on ESPN or CBS, and they wonder, ‘How do I get into drone racing?’ This is the kit that does that. … It lowers the barrier for entry so you can easily understand [drones] and that you can do it at an affordable price point.”

The hook here is an upgradable system where users can beef up their kit piece by piece. “The Recon headset comes with [the kit], but you can upgrade to a pro-grade headset (Fat Shark offers several different options, which vary when it comes to form factor, display ratio, and field of view) … [The Recon] is the Ford Taurus of headsets, but you can upgrade to a BMW M3,” the company said. Users can upgrade their cameras, quadcopters, and controllers individually (though Fat Shark doesn’t sell copters or radios à la carte), which opens the possibility of incremental upgrades at a few hundred dollars per piece, rather than spending thousands on a new drone all at once.

The system offers three different modes, depending upon the user’s level of expertise. “Easy mode,” for example, automatically stabilizes the quadcopter so you can learn the ropes without fear of the drone accidentally flying away (or crashing and burning). Although the kit is designed specifically for drone racing, beginners could easily have fun just flying around.

We also spoke with Fat Shark CEO Allan Evans, who was nice enough to stop by the Digital Trends CES booth for a quick interview. While drone classes are available, they’re typically aimed at professionals, and can cost thousands of dollars. Evans says that the company saw a need for a simple and comprehensive package aimed at teaching consumers how to fly drones safely and affordably. “It’s important to go through that educational process, because historically it’s been very hard,” he said. The company has invested in step-by-step instruction videos, which Evans sees as vital to making drone flying accessible.

Fat Shark 101 retails for $249 and is available via Fat Shark, as well as online retailers, including GetFPV, Horizon Hobby, and Ready Made RC.

Product Review

Nintendo’s Labo VR Kit may look silly, but it really works

During our hands-on with the Nintendo Labo VR Kit, fears of a gimmicky product from Nintendo were quickly dispelled. While not a direct competitor to Oculus or HTCs own headsets, Labo VR brings a clever, new way to experience VR that makes…
Emerging Tech

Dublin Airport has a novel idea for tackling rogue drones

There are a growing number of technology-based solutions for dealing with rogue drones flying near airports, but officials at Dublin Airport have come up with another idea for keeping the skies safe.
Emerging Tech

Scientists use drone to map Icelandic cave in preparation for Mars exploration

Researchers from the SETI Institute and Astrobotic Technology have demonstrated a way that astronauts may be able to map Martian caves using a Lidar-equipped drone that can travel autonomously without GPS.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.
Emerging Tech

A 3D printer the size of a small barn will produce entire homes in Saudi Arabia

If you’re looking for a 3D printer that can comfortably fit on the side of your desk… well, Danish company Cobod International’s enormous new 3D house printer probably isn’t for you.

Need a ride? Amazon is slashing prices on popular electric scooters

If you’re not much of a cyclist or if you’re looking for a lazier way to zip about town, an electric scooter should be right up your alley. Two of our favorites, the foldable Glion Dolly and the eco-friendly Razor scooter, are on sale…
Emerging Tech

Unexpected particle plumes discovered jetting out of asteroid Bennu

The OSIRIS-REx craft traveled to asteroid Bennu last year and won't return until 2023. But the mission is already throwing up unexpected findings, like plumes of particles which are being ejected from the surface of the asteroid.
Emerging Tech

Trip to Neptune’s moon, Triton, could inform search for extraterrestrial life

NASA has proposed sending a craft to Neptune to study its largest moon, Triton. Studying Triton could offer clues to how liquid water is maintained on planets, which may indicate what to look for when searching for life beyond our planet.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover passes its tests with flying colors

The Mars 2020 rover team has been undertaking a series of tests to see if the craft will be able to launch, navigate, and land on the Red Planet. Called Systems Test 1, or ST1, these tests represent the first test drive of the new rover.

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Petzl to Tikkid, here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Emerging Tech

A hive of activity: Using honeybees to measure urban pollution

According to a new study from Vancouver, bees could help us understand urban pollution. Scientists have found an innovative way to measure the level of source of pollution in urban environments: by analyzing honey.
Emerging Tech

Spacewalk a success as astronauts upgrade batteries on the ISS

The International Space Station was treated to some new batteries on Friday, thanks to two NASA astronauts who took a spacewalk for nearly seven hours in order to complete the upgrades.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Asteroid Ryugu is porous, shaped like a spinning top, and is formed of rubble

The Japanese Space Agency has been exploring a distant asteroid named Ryugu with its probe, Hayabusa 2. Now the first results from study of the asteroid are in, with three new papers published.