Augmented reality software developer Edgybees has launched Drone Prix. The new mobile app immerses DJI drones and their pilots in more than 30 augmented reality obstacle courses.
Available in the App Store and Play Store, Drone Prix enable pilots to hone their flight skills navigating around virtual objects in 3D space while collecting coins and prizes, as demonstrated in the gameplay trailer.
Compatible with the Phantom 3, the Phantom 4 and the Mavic Pro, Drone Prix offers solo gameplay mode, where players are challenged to beat their own timed scores. There is also a competition mode, where pilots attempt to best others worldwide for ranking on the leaderboard. Pilots can also link the game to Facebook so that they can humble-brag about their maverick skills.
"When we first came up with the idea for this app, we wanted to create a new experience for pilots combining the joys of flying with the thrills of gamification. The Drone Prix AR app is really the first augmented reality social game designed specifically to do just that," said Menashe Haskin, Edgybees CTO & Co-Founder, in a news release.
Edgybees plans to add new features to the game in the near future, including a multi-player racing mode, where pilots can compete against friends locally and remotely, and moving obstacles to add more challenging gameplay. The company also plans to introduce local and online events where multiple pilots can compete in real time.
"Our goal and our focus right now is to continue to add features to DronePrix AR that both entertain and challenge pilots, which can push even the most experienced and competitive pilots to the edge of their skill level. At the same time, we are exploring AR applications for drone piloting that go beyond gaming," Haskin told Next Reality.
The company tested the game with DJI in Korea, China and the United States, as well as with pilots from DJI groups on Facebook. Feedback from the testing also influenced the product roadmap; based on the response from pilots, the company is now looking into adding streaming services to the game.
"The response has been overwhelmingly positive by DJI pilots as they enjoy the challenges of the course and the ability to share video gameplay on Facebook or Youtube," said Haskin, who worked at Amazon Prime Air before co-founding Edgybees.
In addition to making practice with drones more fun and immersive, Drone Prix gives pilots a safer simulation for training. To avoid physical obstacles in the field, drone piloting requires the ability to judge distance and position accurately and precise maneuvering that comes through practice. As with heavier machinery, practice in real world environments exposes the drone to risk of serious damage.
With Drone Prix AR, pilots practice maneuvering through and around obstacles - and the worst consequences that happen when hitting an obstacle is losing score. Playing games is a great way to improve fine control and maneuver skills, with no risk of damage or destruction. This is what DronePrix AR is all about.
Drone Prix connects supported drones in much the same way as the DJI GO 4 app. Once connected, players will see the drone's camera view through the app, with game elements overlaid on the view. Players would continue to control the drone using their remote controls.
Edgybees relied on DJI's mobile SDK to build the applications within a quick timeframe.
"DJI's support for the startup and developer communities has not only meant creation of new usage applications, but also new business opportunities," said Taehyun Moon, DJI's Director of Brand Management. "The Drone Prix app is one of the many great examples of how our SDK has opened doors to new creative possibilities and expanded developers' ability to build exciting new custom applications."
What other AR games would you like to see combined with real life drones? Let us know in the comments.