An accidental introduction for Indian expatriate Devnath Sasidharan into the world of First Person View (FPV) drone racing later became a passion leading him to represent his country at several international competitions.
The Qatar resident otherwise knew little about the emerging sport of drone racing during 2017-18 when he was participating in an event at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay.

Devnath Sasidharan and teammates victorious at Asia Drone League.

“As a student of National Institute of Technology, Jaipur, I was participating in a multicopter challenge organised by IIT Bombay. I fabricated a design and a 3D printed multicopter platform to attend the competition but could not win. My friend and teammate Nimesh controlled the software,” recalled Sasidharan.
“At the same time, there was a drone racing competition going on at another part of Mumbai. Out of curiosity I went there and was fascinated to find drones flying at a very high speed. This was something new for me. This was in 2017 when the hobby was just emerging and I decided to try my hand at it,” he continued.
Thereafter, there was no looking back for the young lad as he took part in about 30 FPV drone racing competitions and won most of them. Recently he started working as a robotic software engineer in the research and development department of a leading organisation and has been travelling extensively to various countries but still finds time for his passion of drone racing.
FPV drone racing is a sport where participants control drones equipped with cameras while wearing head-mounted displays showing the live stream camera feed from the drones. Similar to full size air racing, the goal is to complete a set course as quickly as possible.
In fact, Sasidharan was among the 10 or 12 students selected out of 400 applicants in his college for the robotic club when he started his engineering programme. “I had an interest in aeromodelling and started building plane models -fixed ones and remote controlled models of air links. I built a couple of air models and wanted to get into the next stage and this took me into the world of drones and drone racing and then the Mumbai experience happened,” explained, Sasidharan.
With generous cash awards, Sasidharan said he could manage to self-support in each competition. “Winning a national competition - Indian Drone Festival 2.0 held at ITDA Dehradun by Dehradun Drones Institute was a huge moment as this helped me represent India in an Asian competition in Malaysia. Another major competition was for the Asia, Australia Pacific region where I came third. I have won over 20 competitions altogether. I could self-fund for all the competitions because of the prize money I won in all the competitions,” he added.
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