Max Verstappen challenged by the fastest flying robot in the world

Lightning-fast subjective shot of the new Red Bull RB20 with an FPV drone at Silverstone thanks to the technology of the company "Dutch Drone Gods"

Red Bull: at Silverstone the Formula 20 RB1 driven by Max Verstappen was challenged by
Max Verstappen's Red Bull RB20 at full speed at Silverstone chased by the special drone of the "Dutch Drone Gods" team

Thanks to the technology invented by the specialized company "Dutch Drone Gods" and Max Verstappen's brand new Red Bull RB20 Formula 1 single-seater, which immediately won on the race tracks of the racing season, the fastest subjective shot ever with a robot was recently achieved FPV type steering wheel.
The so-called “first-person” seamless images (FPV is the acronym in English) of a complete lap of the Dutch champion on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit were carried out with a manually piloted drone custom-built for this purpose.
The 2024 car of the Oracle Red Bull Racing team was brought in front of the fans for the first time on that occasion, during which a flying robot equipped with "first person view" devices held its own against the Anglo-Austrian Circus car in terms of duration and speed and recorded high definition video.

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Red Bull: at Silverstone the Formula 20 RB1 driven by Max Verstappen was challenged by the "Dutch Drone Gods" driven by Ralph Hogenbirk
Shaggy FPV”, aka Ralph Hogenbirk, “first person view” drone pilot, with his compatriot Max Verstappen, driver of the Red Bull team in Formula 1

A remotely piloted aircraft used in a sporting, recreational or cinematographic activity

An FPV drone (where FPV stands for "first person view"), or racing drone, is a remotely piloted aircraft used in a sporting, recreational or cinematographic activity.
Experts control radio-controlled quadcopters, equipped with cameras, wearing visors or glasses mounted on the face which, thanks to a specially designed video reception module, receive in real time the transmission of filmed images captured by the camera mounted on the drone, thus allowing its control as if they were “on board” the aircraft itself.
There are different uses of "first person view" drones: from the cinematic one, to take more dynamic and immersive shots compared to the more traditional stabilized drones, to the freestyle one, in which pilots mostly engage in acrobatics and tricks, or combinations of maneuvers , up to motorsport activities on the circuits.

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Red Bull: at Silverstone the Formula 20 RB1 driven by Max Verstappen was challenged by the "Dutch Drone Gods" driven by Ralph Hogenbirk
The special drone from the “Dutch Drone Gods” team chases Max Verstappen's Red Bull RB20 at full speed at Silverstone

“Mad Max”: “I never thought I'd see a filming drone go so fast…”

“I never thought I'd see a drone go so fast just to take pictures”, said “Mad Max” after observing the unusual aerial rival in action on the English circuit.
“I didn't know he was following me while I was driving in the wet, especially since in some places he was actually very close to me”, continued the three-time Formula 1 world champion.
“I was really surprised at how quickly he could keep up with me and also his ability to get close in the corners. It provides a slightly different perspective on watching F1.", he added.
It took more than a year to design a drone capable of accelerating twice as fast as a Grand Prix car, reaching speeds of up to 300 km per hour in just 4 seconds, along with a top speed of over 350 kilometers per hour. .

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Red Bull: at Silverstone the Formula 20 RB1 driven by Max Verstappen was challenged by the "Dutch Drone Gods" driven by Ralph Hogenbirk
The special drone of the “Dutch Drone Gods” team in flight

Ralph Hogenbirk, also known as “Shaggy FPV,” flew with the headset and a radio controller

The “Dutch Drone Gods” team and pilot Ralph Hogenbirk, also known by the pseudonym “Shaggy FPV”, prepared for a lap behind compatriot Verstappen with multiple flight simulations.
In fact, a lot of time passed from the first design sketches to the construction of the actual drone, created in the laboratory in Eindhoven, in the south of the Netherlands.
The development was accelerated thanks to the possibility of taking advantage of the experience, know-how and operational processes of the Red Bull Advanced, the high-performance engineering and technological antenna of the Circus team of the same name, generously offered to the men of the "Dutch Drone Gods”.
The Dutch company designed and produced lightweight aerodynamic fairings and structural arms specifically for engine mounting, aiming to help reduce the drone's total mass by around 10 percent.

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Red Bull: at Silverstone the Formula 20 RB1 driven by Max Verstappen was challenged by the "Dutch Drone Gods" driven by Ralph Hogenbirk
The infographic of the challenge at Silverstone between the Red Bull RB20 of Max Verstappen, Formula 1 world champion, and the special drone of the "Dutch Drone Gods" team of "Shaggy FPV", aka Ralph Hogenbirk

The first tests took place at the same time as Liam Lawson and David Coulthard's RB8 and RB19

The progress of the project is tested through numerous tests on other Grand Prix circuits, using the RB8 and RB19 single-seaters driven by reserve driver Liam Lawson and thirteen-time winner and, now, journalist David Coulthard.
“When you see the long, wide shots, you lose the perception of the speed of the car. There are numerous applications to give fans the feeling of being in a racing car, as in this case. When the drone is this close, you are completely immersed in the viewing experience. I'm sure that, in the not too distant future, we will see it as a regular element of television broadcasts.", declared the unforgettable Scottish driver.
The pilot controlled the drone's route using a radio control and observing the flight path exclusively through glasses that provided a low-resolution view from the flying robot's observation point.

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Red Bull: at Silverstone the Formula 20 RB1 driven by Max Verstappen was challenged by the "Dutch Drone Gods" driven by Ralph Hogenbirk
Shaggy FPV”, aka Ralph Hogenbirk, “first person view” drone pilot from the “Dutch Drone Gods” team

The camera angle adjusted simultaneously and precisely by a foot pedal

The camera angle was simultaneously adjusted with a foot pedal, which required great precision in hand-eye coordination in order to obtain a smooth, close-up shot of a Formula 1 car at speeds of over 300 km/h.
Having previously driven a series of FPV drones following MTB cyclists at events such as the Red Bull Cerro Abajo in Valparaiso, Chile, keeping pace with a Circus car speeding along was a huge new challenge. challenge for “Shaggy FPV”.
This emerging technology, developed in Holland, included systems for curve management, acceleration, deceleration, battery life, connectivity between the drone, receiver and pilot, as well as navigation on bridges and under billboards.
“This is a special drone because it is the only one with a camera installed and that goes so fast. It's completely customized, and it's a one-of-a-kind piece that we developed for just that purpose.", commented the pilot of the “Shaggy FPV” drone, aka Ralph Hogenbirk.
“It was very challenging to create a drone that was fast enough to keep up with a Formula 1 car and keep the car completely within the frame, while still capturing the images in an interesting way”.
And yet: “This was definitely the craziest shoot I've done so far.”

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Red Bull: at Silverstone the Formula 20 RB1 driven by Max Verstappen was challenged by the "Dutch Drone Gods" driven by Ralph Hogenbirk
The special drone technology of the “Dutch Drone Gods” team

Battery life reduced from half an hour (at 60 km per hour) to… three minutes (at 300 km per hour)

Not only was it challenging for the drone pilot to stay close to the innovative Red Bull RB20 as it navigated obstacles such as overpasses at the English circuit, but there were also significant technical issues for the drone to overcome.
While the vast majority of commercial flying robots travel around 60km per hour with a battery life of around half an hour, the special drone designed to chase Max Verstappen's Red Bull had to fly with the same agility as a Formula 1 car.
This meant that it needed to perform large accelerations and decelerations, which significantly reduced battery life to around 3 minutes.
“Mad Max” was aware of these challenges, even after watching the footage of the drone chasing its car.
“For its driver, there are many things to take into account, for example avoiding bridges and anticipating braking points, given that… we have a brake pedal, but in the air everything works very differently. It is therefore very stressful to stay so focused”, concluded Verstappen.

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Red Bull RB20 Formula 1 chased by the "Dutch Drone Gods" at Silverstone (the event)

Red Bull: at Silverstone the Formula 20 RB1 driven by Max Verstappen was challenged by
The special drone from the “Dutch Drone Gods” team that chased Max Verstappen's Red Bull RB20 at full speed at Silverstone