Thrust UAV & Drones
PCS Edventures entered the drone tech space in late 2014 as we developed curriculum for advanced robotics for a Saudi Arabia curriculum development project. During this project, 4 units of curriculum for the high school capstone experience were developed focusing on APM controller technology, autonomous waypoint planning, RF technology, battery technology, alternative energy, and other topics. Drones are a rich source of STEM content such as the programming and electronics of the control systems, flight dynamics, and even materials science as applied to the frame of the drone (carbon fiber for example).
During development PCSV developed a relationship with Thrust UAV, a local business focused on drone tech that designs and sells components and frames to the drone FPV (first person view) hobby segment in which enthusiasts don goggles and “see” the drone’s eye view as a pilot while flying at 30-100mph. We became familiar with the tech and market dynamics by spending time with EJ Duarte, the owner and innovator of Thrust products. The bottom line is that the FPV racing is a rapid growth market with major sports league level sponsorships evolving rapidly. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross recently invested $1MM to found a drone racing league for example which launched with great media fanfare in January of 2016. March 2016 marks the Dubai Grand Prix in which FPV drone racers are competing for a $1MM prize purse. The growth and excitement in the FPV racing industry is a strong indicator to PCSV that we are in the right place at the right time with our entry into this market. The strong connections to STEM education make this a natural fit for the education market also. In the February 18, 2016 press release announcing the PCSV acquisition of Thrust, Robert Grover, EVP for PCS explained it as follows:
“Strategically and operationally there are a number of strong synergies between Thrust UAV and PCS Edventures,” said Robert Grover, PCS Edventures Executive Vice President. “STEM education is a natural fit as we discovered when developing advanced robotics curriculum last year. In addition to the rich educational environment it provides, it is also a natural complement to our marketing strategy. Robotics competitions in schools are one of the single largest drivers of educational robotic product sales in the country. We see the thrill of FPV racing coupled with STEM education as a natural way to drive interest in STEM fields and build a STEM pipeline of technically literate students in the United States. Imagine a nationwide league of drone racing teams in our schools, and our students as excited to study electronics, engineering, and flight dynamics as they are to play football. In my opinion, FPV drone racing can bring the juice to STEM education.”
Thrust UAV Products
The following are videos of our flagship FPV racing drone, the Riot, in action as demonstrated by our Thrust-sponsored pilot Jose Vela in Spain. The images following the videos are renderings of the manufactured version of the Riot that is now in development. It is our plan to move the Riot into mass manufacturing using US manufacturing partners which will ensure the highest quality production required for FPV racing. PCSV will be releasing more information over the coming weeks regarding our go forward plan with the Thrust UAV initiative.