Getting into FPV is too hard.
That’s what keeps going through my head every time I bind a radio, remember to unplug a LiPo so it doesn’t die or venture into the murky depths of Betaflight to configure rates. I’ve been dabbling in FPV for almost two years now and the depth and breadth of skill required to fly competitively is beyond what I had ever imagined. At times, it’s expensive. Often it’s confusing. For most, I’d wager that the barrier to enter the space is prohibitively high.
We’ve been thinking of ways to lower this barrier at Fat Shark since I started as CEO earlier this year. One tool that we’re starting to use is bundling. Now, instead of buying a modular set of goggles and then adding a receiver, antenna and charger at a later time — we’re starting to ship more complete solutions that are ready to fly out of the box. The Attitude V4 now comes with an integrated OLED receiver. Both the Dominator V3 and the HD3 now come with USB-chargeable batteries so it isn’t necessary to buy an extra balance charger. The Transformer SE comes with antennas and an integrated receiver — almost everything needed to fly straight out of the box. These bundles help reduce the confusion for new users, but I still think that they don’t go far enough to make FPV accessible.
Price is another major barrier to getting into drone racing. For someone starting in the FPV world, spending $400-$600 on the full suite of hardware can be too big of a commitment. Instead, the industry needs low-cost, simple-to-use hardware in the radio, quad and headset to let new pilots learn and eventually grow into the market.
Later this year, Fat Shark’s Recon headset will be available as a piece of that solution. With a high quality WQVGA screen, an integrated receiver and a simple, USB-chargeable battery, the Recon is everything needed to pick up an FPV signal and fly like a pro. It’s got four-band support, an included antenna and headstrap and — most importantly — a simple approach to the often complex world of drone racing. And unlike the professional goggles currently out in the field, it’s amazingly cost sensitive.
As of this week, we’re opening up the Recon to partners for bundles and white label solutions only. As the market continues to grow, we may start to distribute the Recon independently — but right now, our goal is to get the hardware out to the growing segment of aspiring drone racers and build the sport. If you’d like to build out your own version of the Fat Shark Recon, send me a note at email@example.com. We really hope that getting this into the hands of a new pilot along with a low cost radio and a micro quad will get more people flying and loving the sport. Right now, it’s the headset that I use.