Posted November 14, 2017 by Adam Ghiggino in Feature
 
 

1,977 Limited Edition Star Wars Laser Battle Drones go on sale in Australia this week


At an event in Sydney last week, drone-manufacturers Propel announced the Australian launch of their Star Wars Laser Battle Drones, which were previously only available internationally.

For the biggest Star Wars fans in need of something special for Christmas, a limited edition will be made available this Friday 17 November, featuring a specially-numbered wax-sealed box that lights up and plays music from the movies when opened. It’s pretty cool. Only 1,977 Limited Edition drones will be made available, a number that will be familiar to anyone who remembers when the original Star Wars movie was released. That’s just three per store, at retailers JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Tech 2 Go, Myer, Apple Stores and Telstra (selected stores only). The Standard Edition will follow, being released on Tuesday 21 November.

There are three types of ship available at launch – the T-65 X-Wing Starfighter, a Tie Advanced X1 and a 74-Z Speeder Bike. Each of these drones is hand-painted to look as close to their movie counterparts as possible, with lighting effects and even an array of Star Wars music built into the controller (as well as sound effects, and even characters speaking famous lines from the movie).

Using Reverse Propulsion technology, the drone’s propellors are found underneath rather than on top, although this doesn’t inhibit its ability to land, with an auto take-off and landing function built into the controller. It does help each of the drones look more like the ships they’re made to resemble – the detailing on the TIE fighter especially is really impressive, and the toy Stormtrooper sitting on top of the Speeder Bike is pretty cute too.

These drones lack an on-board camera, as rather than being intended for filming, Propel are hoping to launch a new type of gaming with them, allowing players to fly them in duels with friends by firing invisible lasers at each other, using LiFi technology. Up to 12 drones can battle at one time, which is certainly impressive to see – as we were shown a demonstration at the launch event with professional pilots re-creating the Battle of Yavin. Drones have ‘lives’ and when shot down will actually spin and land safely in a pretty amusing fashion, while you’re forced to wait 10 seconds until you can take off and ‘respawn’. While the drones are controlled with a physical remote control, it also syncs with your mobile device to keep score and help players enter the same match. The free app used for this also allows you to get up to speed with drone piloting by training on a virtual ship.

The top speed of the drones approaches 45 km/h, if you turn all the training safeties off (which is a good idea if you’re a beginner like me and liable to crash it into the ceiling). Not only can the ‘T-mode’ modify how high and fast you can take the drone, there are also three ‘speed levels’ you can switch to as you get more comfortable and confident piloting your drone. You’ll get about 6-8 minutes of flight time out of a single battery, which take about 30-40 minutes on average to charge.

The 1,977 copies of the Limited Edition will retail for AU $299 on Friday 17 November, although Propel are offering a $100 rebate if claimed within 48 hours of the launch (and these drones will surely sell out quick-sharp). The Standard Edition, which has the same drone inside but without the swish box that lights up, will retail for AU $199 on Tuesday 21 November.

You can check out more about the drones at Propel’s official website.


Adam Ghiggino

 
I'm Rocket Chainsaw's Owner and Executive Editor. When I'm not writing here, I work in TV and on short films, and fight criminal velociraptors.