Real-life Mario Kart looks amazing from the perspective of a self-flying Skydio drone

Mario Kart in real life is a commonly shared dream, one that doesn’t typically live up to your imagination — but we’re definitely not giving up. Recently, Nintendo launched an official $100 R/C car with mixed-reality tracks and and a full-on AR ride at Japan’s Super Nintendo World.

Now, independent filmmaker Ian Padgham has come up with another must-try idea: riding a lawnmower on a closed course, from the perspective of a self-flying drone.

Mario Kart in real life thanks to CG and a self-flying drone: a chain chomp appears to be attacking this riding lawnmower.

Yes please.
Image: Ian Padgham

Not that he’s actually playing a game in this awesome video, mind: it’s pretty clear that Padgham just set his Skydio drone to film a normal video of him riding around, and then he likely added a lot of CG in post.

But to quote The Six Million Dollar Man, we have the technology! Savvy programmers could totally pair a headset with a self-flying drone and make this game for real.

  • As I explained in our Skydio 2 review, the company’s technology has come to the point where I implicitly trust it to follow me without crashing. You don’t need to worry about controlling this kind of drone at all — you’d only need to worry about steering the lawnmower.
  • We’ve already seen that you can make real-life feel like a third-person video game by pairing a drone with an FPV headset and flying it behind your body while walking around.
  • Mixed-reality headsets like the Microsoft Hololens have repeatedly and convincingly overlaid CG on top of the real world in real-time (though admittedly only across a narrow field of view). They could certainly turn reality into Mario Kart from a drone’s perspective.
  • Drones like the Skydio 2 have a surprising amount of processing power inside these days, too.
  • The world has absolutely built go-karts that can artificially slow themselves down when hit by a virtual turtle shell.

We just haven’t put them all together yet. Speaking of which, Skydio — when can we expect an FPV headset from you? It’s right up there with “build a smaller folding drone that easily fits in a messenger bag” when it comes to no-brainer moves.

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