BMX technology: How drone tech helps riders log their best times

Ahead of the Olympics in Rio this year, Great Britain’s BMX team are tirelessly training to give themselves the best chance of medalling. Every millisecond counts in events such as this, which has led the team to seek help from BAE Systems to see if their advanced tech can help them beat their personal best times.

BAE Systems offered a drone from their “sense and avoidance” system, which has been trialled as part of the Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation & Assessment (ASTRAEA) programme, focusing on tracking objects in the sky. They adapted this technology to provide real-time data of a BMX rider’s speed and trajectory, with more accuracy than had been possible before. The riders travel at high speeds during the race, in the region of 40 kilometres (25 miles) per hour. Maintaining these high speeds for as long as possible is vital; it’s hoped that the precision of this technology will enable the riders and coaches to see exactly where time and speed is being lost.

BAE Systems BMX drone tech

The data collated during each run can be used to compare different riders with one another, which can identify what each rider does well and where they could make marginal gains. Prior to the use of this technology, only the overall time of the run was used. Now, the riders are able to review how their speed fluctuates during the run, especially over the multiple jumps.

For more incredible facts, make sure you pick up the latest copy of How It Works. It’s available from all good retailers, or you can order it online from the ImagineShop. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, make sure you subscribe today!

Plus, take a look at:

WWII drones: How the first UAVs took to the skies

Fotokite Phi: The pet drone you can keep on a leash

Paris lifeguard drone