Drone racing tactics and logistics

12 March 2019

Valeria Rodriguez

[email protected]      

     At UCCS, drones have inspired a club dedicated to learn, construct and race this gravity-resilient machine.

    The drone has played a significant part in the military since it was created. In recent years, this apparatus has been used tactically during surveillance, reconnaissance and air strikes.

    Although it has been a subtle weapon for the military, the drone has also bloomed into a hobby, generated by enthusiasts of the machine’s mechanics and its technological abilities to maneuver through the sky.

    One of these enthusiasts is J.D. Seper. In addition to his responsibility as the president of the Drone Club at UCCS, Seper is a senior studying mechanical and aerospace engineering at UCCS.

    After transferring from Iowa Central College, Seper reinitiated the Drone Club, with gratuity of the funding and resources provided to clubs at UCCS.   

    “I came to the CU branch and figured there would be a lot more opportunities to do stuff with it,” said Seper. He explained that as a mechanical engineer his great interest in electronics drove a large passion for drones and drone racing.

    The Drone Club consists of weekly meetings on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in Centennial 186. During these meetings, members are provided with the opportunity to fly a little quad that isn’t very fast and powerful indoors and throughout the room’s premises, according to Seper.

    Seper said that since the weather has not been very nice lately, to drive actual drones, the team has had to keep the club indoors. He hopes to eventually practice drone racing during weekends on campus grounds towards the North end by the baseball fields once the weather improves.

    The club also provides the experience to fly drones with first-person view (FPV) goggles. The drone has a little camera that connects to the goggles so that the user can see in the drone’s perspective.    

    He describes the sense as “Seeing through a pilot’s perspective, seeing what the drone is seeing and kind of reacting to that. When you are in the cockpit the drone only looks forward, you just kind of have to gage and base off that so it is kind of hard to get used to, but once you get used to it, it is really fun because you get that feeling of flying.”

    Furthermore, members of the club get to learn the process of assembly for drones.

    “Once you’re able to configure it and power it and it actually works and does what you want it to, it is really cool because a lot of things come up, and that is kind of the beauty of it,” said Seper.

    Those who have a fascination for drones and their technology are just as welcome to the club as people who have a new-found curiosity for the device.

    “We’re going to need people to give effort in building a quad and in understanding the rules, and flying,” said Seper.  “Anybody is welcome and I’d be happy to try to educate, answering everybody’s questions and having people participate.”

    “People who are passionate about drone racing and technology in general,” he said, describing the types of people he targets to join the club.

    His overall goal for the club is to educate people and get more involvement in the hobby. A long-term goal is to eventually bring in other aspects of the drone: photography, filming, learning to code the drones flight patterns and racing with other universities competitively like club sports do.

    As for short-term goals for the club, they include local drone-racing competitions, to “spread the word” on the practice and to race amongst members of the club.

    If the idea of racing a machine in three dimension catches your interests, or if you like to assemble technologies with your own hands, contact Jason Seper at [email protected] or visit the club’s page on Mountain Lion Connect.