Amimon’s Falcore aims to bring FPV drone racing to the masses

By Patrick C. Miller | August 02, 2017

What do a surgeon, a Hollywood movie director and a drone racer have in common? They could all be using Amimon’s zero-latency HD video technology to accomplish their respective tasks.

Amimon was created in 2004 to get rid of television HDMI cables and usher in the era of wireless HD TV. The company is headquartered in San Jose, California, with offices in Israel, Japan, Taiwan and China. Its technology can provide 1080p video with a latency of less than one millisecond at a distance of nearly three miles.

Currently, Amimon serves specialized niche markets in the medical, professional camera, audio-visual, UAS and virtual reality markets. But the company believes it has found another market with high potential in the world of first-person view (FPV) drone racing.

To that end, Amimon has developed the Connex Falcore drone as a technology demonstration platform. The plan is to give would-be FPV drone racers the ability to immediately fly the Falcore with minimal training and at a reasonable cost.

Another technology Amimon recently announced for the Falcore is iNav, an embedded GPS application that enables greater improvement in FPV racing performance. The Falcore can fly in “shield mode,” which enables inexperienced drone pilots to use the drone’s barometer and sonar sensors to maintain a fixed flight distance off the ground.

“When we looked at the field of FPV racing, we thought that we could bring two key things to people who would like to join this racing arena,” said Netanel Goldberg, Amimon’s product manager and the Falcore program manager.

“The first is full HD with zero latency—unlike other drones that use analog video,” he explained. “The second is that we will allow you to experience the thrill of racing out of the box. Instead of spending 10, 20 or 30 hours of learning and crashing, you can actually get a Falcore, put it in shield mode and fly it like an RC car.”

Most FPV racing drones rely on analog video to achieve zero latency, meaning that commands based on what the pilot sees from the drone’s perspective are instantly transmitted to the drone’s control surfaces.

“What’s unique about the FPV drones is that you need to maneuver them very fast and this why we decided that we have a chance at this,” Goldberg said. “The major drone manufacturers use analog to get zero latency, but then they get all the analog problems. It looks like TV from the 80s.”

The Falcore’s controller also allows expert pilots to fly in “acro mode,” which enables them to take advantage of the aircraft’s fully acrobatic profile for use as a drone racing platform.

Goldberg said that those who want to get into FPV drone racing currently might spend $2,000 buying and assembling everything they need. Amimon is aiming at a $799 price point for the complete Falcore system.

“Falcore is ready to fly out of the box,” Goldberg said. “It’s a Corvette. You can fly it in shield mode just to enjoy it. When you get better, you can put it in acro mode and fly it at 180 miles per hour.”

The Falcore has an aeroshell monocoque carbon fiber chassis to provide protection for onboard electronics in an aerodynamic, drag-free enclosure.