Star Wars Drones Allow You to Have Laser Battles in the Sky
Among all of the weird and wonderful sights I was treated to at Star Wars Celebration 2016 this past weekend, undoubtedly the most surreal moment was when I was led into a room featuring a large recreation of the Death Star, in order to witness 10 men guiding TIE Fighter and X-Wing drones above its surface and engaging in large-scale laser battles with one another.
The drones were a major feature of this year’s expo, with them having their own large booth at the show and the aforementioned Death Star recreation, alongside a similarly elaborate setup for an Endor arena. Created by manufacturers Propel, the quadcopters offer a very authentic Star Wars experience from the moment they’re taken out of their out of their box, with music from the films playing as you remove them. It’s when you get them off the ground, though, that the fun really begins.
Propel state that the drones can reach their maximum speed in 3 seconds by way of the company’s newly developed reverse propulsion system, though their speed wasn’t the major focus of their presentation at Star Wars Celebration. Instead we were shown how the laser battles between the drones play out, with each quad able to take three shots from an enemy before they safely crash land onto the ground. Propel reenacted the climactic action sequence from A New Hope during their demo of the products, with the Millennium Falcon swooping in to help out Luke Skywalker during the famous trench run, while X-Wings and Darth Vader’s own TIE Advanced X1 battled it out in the distance.
Each drone’s controller vibrates to inform the player that they have been hit, though considering the small size of these quads it’s imaginable that it will require no small degree of skill to successfully take down an opponent. Unfortunately, Propel didn’t allow the press to have a hands-on demonstration with the quads, with them strictly being flown by the company’s employees. On the plus side, we were handed a proof of concept of the drone’s controller which, despite being a little on the bulky side, was surprisingly ergonomic.
The design of the Star Wars drones is the real highlight, though, with them featuring a meticulous level of detail that makes them strikingly similar to their on-screen counterparts. From the numerous little details on the Falcon through to R2-D2 sitting in his little seat in X-Wing, these quadcopters certainly look the real deal. Even the boxes they ship in are visually appearing, with them featuring an embossed design of the spacecraft.
Customers can now reserve one of the first 15,000 Star Wars drones on Propel’s official site, with them shipping between this fall/winter. Alongside the Millennium Falcon, X1 Advanced and X-Wing, Propel has also created a 74-Z Speeder Bike, too. No pricing information has been officially announced.