FIFA World Cup Drones – How to spy on your opponents

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

For quite some time now, UAVs or drones are present in sports. Mostly they are being used for aerial filming of open air games and races. S.L Benfica, a Portuguese football club from Lisbon, even used a drone to hand out shirts during their game, two months ago.

S.L. Benfica drone

S.L. Benfica drone

Two weeks ago, ESPN had a very cool report on how drones penetrated sport events, first as a way to offer  a new perspective to viewers, and then as a tool for coaches to capture data in order to analyze and improve teams performance.

But if a coach uses aerial filming platform to analyze his own team performance, what stops him to use a drone to analyze opponents performance?

Apparently, exactly that happened last Tuesday on a closed training session of the French national team. French national team coach Didier Deschamps is reportedly calling for an investigation into a quadcopter drone that was spotted spying over his team’s closed training session, and local police is promising a quick resolution.

Closed training sessions are being used in order to check physical fitness of key players and to decide on gametime tactics and player selection. If rival managers acquire that information, that would be a distinctive tactical advantage during the actual game. Taking into consideration the amount of money that is involved in every aspect of the FIFA World Cup ($14 billion cost to Brazilian Government, ~$500 million is the prize money pot), it is no wonder that the French coach is upset about the drone with camera flying over his team.

Using drones for military reconnaissance is long known fact, and it is almost a standard on any given battlefield. In Brazil, however, we saw for the first time a drone being used to acquire intel on a football battlefield. Dronologista thinks that Pandora’s box of drone enabled sport espionage is officially open, and we can expect more events like this to happen.

Interesting article about the case you can find on Motherboard and Yahoo! sport.

Image and video courtesy of 101 Great Goals and ESPN.

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