Let me be honest and say that after watching this video, I was not convinced it was real. It starts out with a fairly mundane-looking drone hovering innocently enough. And then with a sound like a TIE Fighter taking off, it accelerates into the air at an incredible speed and disappears. For all I know it went around the moon and came back.
The rest of the video features the drone zipping back and forth at unbelievable speeds, casually executing backflips, barrel rolls, and hair pin loop-de-loops. Several Verge staffers suggested the video might be sped up, pointing to birds that seem to flit across the screen unnaturally fast. The cars on a road in the background, however, seem to maintain a constant and normal pace throughout, suggesting the drone is performing these feats without any special effects.
A custom-built speed demon made from less than $700 in parts
The quadcopter was built by a hobbyist who goes by the handle Warthox. He shares the specs for the drones he builds after each video on his Vimeo page. In the comments of the YouTube video he said the custom-built speed demon in this video is made from about $670 in parts he bought mostly on Flyduino. In fact the title of the video is just a list of the parts — minicp120 x2208 2000kv 6x4.5 hqprop kiss esc 18a nanowii 4s1800 40c — although you would have to be a drone gearhead to catch this.
I felt a visceral joy watching this video. The drone's capabilities and the pilot's skill are mind blowing. A few minutes later I started to imagine what it would be like if the police were using drones like this to hunt people down. Or worse, what happens when these drones fly themselves? I was suddenly afraid for future generations. In this case there is still a human pilot at the helm. May our robot overlords be benevolent rulers.