Fat Shark Drone Training All-in-one Kit – Interview From the DT Booth at CES 2018
Thank you so much for that video Caleb full of information about CES so far, welcome back to our full day live broadcast right here at CES in Las Vegas 2018. I’m, so excited for our very, very first interview about technology for the day, but just to remind adjoining at the table.
I’m Maude Garrett and this here is Greg nimbler. I’m gonna get that simple. I wanted to be different. Every time be quick. I want you to finish it. Alan Evans, who is the CEO of Fatshark, basically drone training system 101, is what we’re going to be talking about.
Thank you so much for joining us right here. At digital trends at table, the desk, where we’re, covering all the amazing things at CES, tell us about what this little great device is in front of us here.
So what we’re doing. What our company has historically done is all the headsets for drone racing, so most people wear headsets for the highest performance, so you can sort of see as you zip around now one of the things that’s.
True is you know, drones are generally big and scary and move real fast and they’re super intimidating. So my mom, not a drone racer. You know she never learned programmed VCR uh-huh. She has flown this.
So what is interesting? What we’re trying to do is build a kit where you don ‘ T have to figure it all out yourself. Everything’s in the box and you can learn to fly if your drone curious in a way that’s, not scary right, so it’s kind of a neat little shark.
They’re batteries on it. We ship with a controller that is sort of much simpler than what you’d, get on the higher end and just sort of Oh awfully good works, and you know it’s, not very dangerous. You can sort of crash it into stuff.
We’ve got walls, but really what we’ve done. Is we integrate with a simulator? We have training videos online, we have a manual and we go all the way through the simplest flight. All the way up to actually being able to do flips and everything else with control for people who want to sort of learn how to do this in a safe way.
Well, I think that’s, that’s, a key thing because it, like you, said flying a drone can be kind of intimidating. You know we were talking about this before yeah and I think we’ve all seen drones. We’re.
All interested in drones are a lot of people are, but actually owning a drone. I don’t know that many people that do because they they’re intimidated. Oh, I’m gonna crash. It I’m gonna break it technology in the power of your hands.
Yeah I mean and going from especially what what you guys do, making the goggles for fpv drone racing. I mean I’ve watched the drone racing league. That is awesome and just absolutely terrifying. I would instantly crash into somebody there’s no way.
I would be allowed near that. I would think that’s. True, my nimbleness may save me, but not anybody else so, but but you’ve gone from that and to to deciding to make your own drone. So what was the decision process of creating your own, and so this is pretty interesting drones to me remind me of computers in 1985, and you have okay, basically a few categories, so I mean it’s a little bit.
You had pcs in 1985, like Apple Computer aerial photography is that right now, like DJI, is doing some amazing things with a Matic and the Phantom in there they’re, really good, and then you had enterprise software like Lotus, 1-2-3 and Microsoft.
Word in 1985, and today you’re, seeing these really cool drone software packages for like scan construction sites. Like recap, by Autodesk, you had the Cray 2 supercomputer launched in 1985, that’s, kind of like Google, a project loon and then the last thing that launched in 1985.
Here was the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was computers for fun simplified, and so we really wanted to take what we do, which is racing which is drones for fun and bring it to a larger collection of people and why that’s really important is so.
I got my PhD in electrical engineering. I’m super dork, but I started by playing video games on a Nintendo and then in the 90s. I started building computers and was like super geeked about Nvidia’s, graphics cards and you know it’s all about performance and that passion for having fun with a platform actually led me to teach myself a whole ton of things, and So we think getting over that barrier of trying to use a new platform, just like the Nintendo did, for so many people and having fun will help everybody, be both better and develop a passion for drones.
I’ll talk about what kind of drone racing it is because it’s quite new. It feels for me that it’s, a new thing to do, and this whole fpv drone racing. You just talk a little bit more about that and also how many people have gone into this kind of niche market yeah.
So if you look fly in a drone, line-of-sight is typical, but if we’re way over there, it’s. Really hard to go through a small circle right if we’re, going all the way down the hall, if you put on a headset now, if you’re trying to fly to fax its, it helps with performance, and it helps you Do stuff outside the line of sight, you can take it off.
I’m there. It’s, a lot of fun, so fpv is one of the ways that people fly and they do it for racing, so they [ Music ]. Why’s that okay, I really did one that why I got it and your idea of bringing it to the masses.
So how are you anticipating people using this, like a group of friends getting together others? What do you see that going? So we’re, not sure right. A part of why you build stuff with some ideas. Is you kind of see where people take it, but what we see is initially people who are really kind of curious about drones are interested or want to learn to race, buying it definitely getting together with their friends, locally kind of figuring out.
You know it comes with, like gates and other stuff to fly through, which we don’t have out here. So if you – and I both had it, we could get together and race would be a lot of fun yeah and there’s, also simulator integration, so that if we’re, not together, we could both practice and race online.
That is a really cool way to integrate it. This is sort of like the entry level so like the beginners guide, so it’s, not so scary. You understand the schematics with it all where I’m, have you kind of gone to the extreme levels and we’ll? We see this almost as like an export yeah.
So the sport is awesome like DRL on ESPN — is, you know, probably the one everybody’s seen and the pilots are amazing. It’s so fast it’s. So fast it’s. Super cool like pod racing, but without the force that’s right, but as an example, they’re, recruiting one pilot a year from their simulator so like.
If you had this it plugs in, you could train. You could actually become a pro pilot. If you, you know, prove you’re good enough, all the way from starting from nothing and then what this is. Each piece here is individually upgradeable, so we understand that, like people’s, dollars are precious.
All this tech here sometimes forgets that so this comes in at 249. But then, if you want a new drone, these things will work with higher and higher end drones. So we wanted to get you sort of something to get familiar with, but then let you evolve into the drone ecosystem kind of, in whatever way it suits you.
That is a really good idea as far as they. So all this comes in the same package. Yeah everything is in one box. One of the problems I had when I first got into this is: I had to figure out how to fly, and I was like buying this from there and that from and it liked it.
It was it it was. I had to teach myself stuff and that’s, that’s, really a pain. So we wanted to sort of simplify that for people initially, and you can crash this thing and not destroy anything important, because I just I bought my data drone over a Christmas and we flew it for the first time and I’m like I Know he’s gonna crash this, like it’s gonna last, maybe a day.
So I wanted something: [ Music ], my ability and our standards, because we know that new people take this [ Music, ], absolutely designed for that learning process. And honestly, if you’re a racer, if you’re trying to get better at something, you have to push your own performance envelope, you’re gonna have to crash, and so we we definitely anticipate that with what We’re doing and on top of that, our customer service is we’ve, always repaired things for people.
We always we really care about the customer, and so you know if there are issues we take care of people. Honestly, the crash testing sounds like half the fun. I want to be able one crash tester. Oh yes, how big and light is the shock? Well, here you go it’s about 80 grams.
You can grab it. It’s, so it’s under the 250 gram legal limit. So you can fly it anywhere. It’s, obviously not scary. So you know you don’t. Have I don’t know? I know how Joel’s guys done and we need to add a speaker on the next one.
Camera here is in the front yep um, and that goes through the goggles. So you can see what’s happening. Does that record, and can you upload any of the footage not on this one, so there’s, things you can buy, that will record it with a DVR but yeah.
So you making mistakes here and then, when you’re good enough, you get that exactly. How fast is it going? We haven’t clocked it, but I mean Nick it zips outside. So if you’re like a racer and you put it in race mode, we go flying down the hallway.
So what do you see? Racing leagues going? I mean right now. You know I ‘ Ve got the drone racing league view. Do you see it like? Maybe I’m curious on your idea of this, like eventually where we’d, have like cities like the New England, Patriots have drone racing or how big do you think this can get? I think it’s, gonna look more like golf or tennis, okay in terms of individuals rather than a team sport.
So you know, like Serena Williams, what cities from that’s, not how you follow it right, yeah and then I think even more people that participate and the more interested they become, the bigger it will get.
But when you look at any of these emerging technologies like AE car racing all these sorts of things, I think there’s, definitely a place for like these human machine, hybrid performance sports, where this is gonna, continue to grow.
So eventually, you can get a gold medal and drone racing or something they were. They were close to putting it in the matrix this year saying I ‘ Ve actually got a question here from one of our viewers on YouTube from Gareth Conroy Connery saying: where do where do you? Alan see drones going in the corporate sector if anywhere so again? This for training is something we pay attention to the corporate sector.
I think right now we’re, so early like I said here’s 1985, that I can’t tell you what 20 years from now it looks like, but definitely the next five years: agriculture like ideal watering construction.
So you can track buildings and match them to blueprints. You know safety. So a lot of high risk inspection things we’re already seeing that come into place and then, in the same way, at Intel’s keynote.
They talked about voxels drones are gonna, be a big part of 3d mapping, so we have this much richer data set of the world and then also communication. If you look at what Google moon did at Puerto Rico after a disaster, they went in and restored cellular networks with drones.
So I think those are a few areas that are right now, starting to emerge and that the impacts past that are something we can’t even anticipate yet so now. This is a package that’s available on the web site and the more information is on the website there.
But what else can people find product wise on your web site? So the other thing we really focus on are high-end headsets for racing. They’re, you know smaller, they’re higher performance and they’re designed very specifically for this, and that is basically that and some accessories for it, like cameras, are the only other things we do and we try to Be really focused on kind of doing those very well, rather than doing everything.
If, initially, you started up just making the goggles and you expand it into drones, right yeah, so we did headsets for 10 years and headsets are used with a bunch of different inks multicopter right now, but sometimes fixed-wing or actually RC.
Cars was the first one, and so there’s. It’s, really this interesting market for people who put stuff together. So all our customers are super cool. That’s really fun. I think it’s time to talk price points.
Have you got a price ready for the beginning kit at the moment 49 yeah for everything, so we we did a lot of things to try to make it really accessible. Because again, if you think, like Nintendo, lower price, easier to use very approachable to the customer, did you think the prime demographic is videos, because obviously it looks very family-friendly? It looks like the whole family can get involved to fly the drones, but it also you have this racing element where it content into a profession as well yeah.
So there are there a couple places that we see. First, I think there’s like the the high schooler, that’s really interested in in competition and sports and maybe eSports, and then there’s. Also, everybody who maybe like my dad, who’s interested in drones, but doesn’t, feel super comfortable, going out to fly phantom right away and wants to develop that confidence and that base set of skills in a way where they’re, not destroying fifteen hundred dollars worth of product exactly so a good Christmas present yeah it’s kind of kind of the entry-level part yeah fantastic.
So where can people find out more a little bit of a bit about your product? Sorry, our website fats are calm and then it’s one-on-one. So there’s, definitely links there and we go into all the details and there’s, things like training videos, so people can go in and be like.
Oh step, one is hover and it’s, important to not just sort of remove that right. It’s really important to help people who want to get into this go through that educational process, because historically it’s been really hard.
Thank you by the way. So much for joining us here for Digital Trends live at CES for 2018 in Las Vegas. Here Alan Evans, the CEO of fat shark. Thank you so much for joining us. If you do want to check it out head to the website, also for all of the information from CES coming through make sure you jump onto Digital Trends, dot-com forward, slash CES there’s, so much information coming at you right there.
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