Drone Soccer Takes Off

July 31, 2023
This newer E-sport is growing in popularity, and schools around the world are beginning to participate with Drone Soccer Ball Kits.
This video appeared in Electronic Design and has been published here with permission.

Check out our AUVSI Xponential 2023 coverage.

Drones are ubiquitous these days, but how can you get students interested in them? How about Drone Soccer.

U.S. Drone Soccer is a team sport. Each team flies multiple quadcopter drones that are placed inside a ball to protect them from obstacles. The idea is to fly the drones through a goal or hoop as many times as possible within a three-minute period. This is a fast and furious time with drones not only trying to score, but also block the opponents' drones from scoring.

The drones come in different sizes (Fig. 1). The sport addresses students of all ages through college. Keson Drayton, Lead Instructor with U.S. Drone Soccer, provides insight into the competition (watch the video above)

The competitors and drones are separated by net barriers, providing line-of-sight control of the drones (Fig. 2). One large goal ring is located at each end of the field; each team has four drones. Typically, two play "goalie" and block while the other two try to score goals at the other end of the field. 

Smaller drones are available, allowing for smaller competition areas. They also cost less. The drones are provided as kits; however, students can work on the drones in the same fashion as other robot competitions. 

The competition does differ from those like NXP's HoverGames, where the focus is on hardware engineering and software development. Instead, the drones are standardized. What's similar is the remote-control aspect.

U.S. Drone Soccer drones are also something that the average student or adult can get into in a few minutes, compared to hours or weeks of learning how to program and control a drone from scratch. Drone soccer is fun and designed to get students interested in more complicated competitions such as HoverGames. 

Check out more drone soccer competitions in the videos below. 

U.S. Drone Soccer 2023 National Championships

U.S. Drone Soccer 2022 Full Contact Drones

Check out more of our AUVSI Xponential 2023 coverage.

About the Author

William G. Wong | Senior Content Director

I am Editor of Electronic Design focusing on embedded, software, and systems. As Senior Content Director, I also manage Microwaves & RF and I work with a great team of editors to provide engineers, programmers, developers and technical managers with interesting and useful articles and videos on a regular basis. Check out our free newsletters to see the latest content.>

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I earned a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Masters in Computer Science from Rutgers University. I still do a bit of programming using everything from C and C++ to Rust and Ada/SPARK. I do a bit of PHP programming for Drupal websites. I have posted a few Drupal modules.  

I still get a hand on software and electronic hardware. Some of this can be found on our Kit Close-Up video series. You can also see me on many of our TechXchange Talk videos. I am interested in a range of projects from robotics to artificial intelligence. 

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