A club based in the French Alps has begun holding official drone races, much like the pod races featured in Star Wars Episode I. No Joke.
The club is called Airgony and described as a Quadcopter Racing Fanatic Association. It recently posted a video to YouTube (titled "Drone racing star wars style Pod racing are back!") that shows several lightweight and small drones flying through a wooded area at speeds reaching 40 miles an hour. The race happened in Argonay, France and is considered a pre event.
The video, which is available below, features Herve Pellarin, president of Airgonay, who detailed how enthusiast racers steered their drones through a forest, all while dodging trees and other drones. The race apparently resulted in a few slightly damaged drones. You can watch the race for yourself and see the racers controlling their drones via on-drone cameras and first-person view googles.
The race is proof that drones are increasing in both popularity and capabilities. They've mostly been used for aerial photography and cinematography in the past, but now they're entering the world of sports competition. Pellarin said he hoped the YouTube video will in fact encourage other organisations to start similar competitions including a global tournament.
He also speculated that drones in future races will be capable of simulating laser blasts (again, just like in Star Wars).