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What Is Drone Soccer?

Some UAVs are about fun and games

a team tries to score points by remote controlling their drones toward a target goal.
Drone soccer is fun and a great way to develop UAV skills!

Much of the focus on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has been on industrial, governmental, and defense applications. For example, how drones might be used for reconnaissance, emergency medical services, and remote surveillance of difficult to reach places, such as inside subway tunnels or above forest fires.

But, in November, 2019, a new application for drones was demonstrated in Jeonju City, South Korea – drone soccer. The Lausanne, Switzerland-based World Air Sports Federation (FAI – Fédération Aéronautique Internationale), provisionally sanctioned drone soccer on May 1, 2019.

Goooal! How do you play drone soccer?

Drone soccer is played indoors or outdoors in a flying zone measuring 20 meters (about 32 feet long) by 10 meters (about 16 feet) wide. A match consists of three periods lasting three minutes each. Two opposing teams of up to five players compete to score the highest number of goals using drones encased in protective orbs illuminated by different color LEDs to distinguish each team.

Each team has a designated “striker.” The striker is the only person permitted to score a goal through a circular goal post positioned between 3 to 5 meters (approximately 10 to 16 feet) above the ground. The remaining team members attempt to block or assist the striker in scoring a goal.

Watch the U.S. team’s launch video and you’ll get a sense of how the sport generates enthusiasm while developing UAV skills. Those skills will come in handy as the commercial market for skilled drone operators matures in the coming decade.

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke is a California-based writer who is fascinated by the way technology changes our lives.