Drones and BMX bikes. They go together like cheese and pickle, don't they? No. No they don't, which is why the news that Team GB's BMX bike riders are apparently using drone technology to shave seconds off their track times was initially something of a head-scratcher.
Working in conjunction with BAE Systems, Team GB's BMX bandits are equipping their bikes with optical sensor technology. It's the same sort of tech that was first developed for the 'sense and avoidance' systems for drones. To hear BAE tell it:
The sensors interact with miniature LEDs affixed to the BMX bikes to track the trajectory of the riders while on the ground and, critically, in the air. This information is then relayed to a specially designed app, giving riders and coaches a real-time read-out of performance, enabling them to identify where they can make those critical marginal gains.
In other words, drone technology is now being used to BMX track stars as they attempt to hurtle around a circuit faster. Apparently this may give them an edge ahead of the next Olympic Games scheduled to be held in Rio De Janeiro next year.
"Medals will be hard won in Rio next year, but access to BAE Systems' expertise, where their forward thinking engineers are applying cutting edge technology to improve our athletes' training and performance, will prove invaluable," Simon Timson, Director of Performance at UK Sport said. "The UK's athletes and their coaches are working hard to make the nation proud in Rio, as they did in London, and it's fantastic to have the best of British engineering, thanks to BAE Systems, backing them all the way."