Geek Beat: Drone Showdown

With the World Drone Racing Championships taking place this weekend on the North Shore, it seemed like a good time to revisit drones… always a reliable topic of conversation.

DroneWorlds” is bringing together races from 30 countries at Kualoa Ranch. Although there are several competitions hosted around the world (including a state championship match on Maui this past summer), this one seems to have the right credentials as an “Official Sanctioned Event” of the Drone Sports Association and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the latter being an organization I’ve actually heard of.

For those interested more in aerial imagery than first-person racing, action camera company GoPro is entering the consumer drone market (taking aim at 800-lb. industry gorilla DJI) with its $799 foldable Karma. Beyond its size, the company is courting beginners with a promise of being easy to use, an included controller with a screen, and even a grip to let you use the stabilizing gimbal while walking around, drone-less.

And for those just looking to have some simple fun, electronics firm Parrot is still sitting pretty at the entry-level, lower-end of the market with its tiny, playful Mambo. You can get one with a little “cannon” or a tiny “grabber,” depending on the kinds of hijinks you want to get into.

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