The term “multicopter” is a broad one encompassing “drone,” but in this paper both will be referred to collectively as “drones.” Due to the rapid pace of development in recent years, drones have been in the spotlight as a technology with applications in various fields. Today’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) environment is experiencing dramatic changes in adapting to current trends. These drone technologies have also begun to be used in the field of sports. Because drones are capable of filming from angles that used to be impossible with conventional tools, in fast-paced sports such as snowboarding and freestyle BMX, unmanned vehicles can film athletes from the sky, and so they are used in various situations, with further developments expected in the future. Recently, drones have been developed to such a level that athletes can communicate interactively with them, and the drones are capable of automatically taking off or landing. Drones can track athletes automatically, keeping them in the frame owing to the evolution of gyro-stabilization technology.As a judo coach, I am especially interested in the possibilities that drones have for my sport. Recently, in judo competitions, a new system with a single referee has been implemented. A single chief referee is in the contest area supported by two assistant referees outside of it. These assistants help the chief referee to make decisions by either monitoring the competition directly or by inspecting footage of the competition shot by two separate fixed digital video cameras. According to Hironori Hayashi, a researcher at Biwako Seikei Sport College, when evaluating a throw, differences in the viewing angles or levels of referees could produce different evaluations. This finding indicates that there are limitations in evaluations made from fixed angles, and if we consider the smooth progression of the competition and appropriate evaluations of techniques during a judo match, the necessity of capturing images with highly mobile cameras from more perspectives becomes clear. Because the aforementioned drone technology can track an athlete automatically and allow referees to monitor the competition from any line of sight, it is possible to judge a competition from more angles. However, until now, there have been no studies on the feasibility of using drone technology to film judo competitions.
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