Are you a drone aficionado? Do you spend all your free time tinkering with quadcopters? If so, you might want to look into drone racing, which was until now merely a recreational hobby. Thanks to Drone Racing League (DRL), however, it has entered the realm of serious competitive sports, complete with international contests held in professional sports stadiums. Similar to Formula One racing, the series will include several drone racing events spaced out in different locations throughout the year, with the first one taking place in Miami next month.
The series comes after last year’s US Drone Racing National Championship. Conducted at the California State Fair in July of 2015, the event saw drone hobbyists competing against each other for a prize money of around $25,000. Armed with an expert media team, the organizers of DRL are working to make drone racing into a professional sport, where pilots skilfully maneuver their miniature aircraft through a series of convoluted courses using special remotes and goggles that offer first-person view from the drones’ on board camera.
According to the company, DRL’s first season will include five racing events, in which some of the world’s best drone pilots like Spaztik, Flyingbear, Little A, Kittycopter and others will be fighting it out for a spot in the final World Championship race. All the drones used during the competition will be custom-built by DRL engineers. With the first event scheduled for February 22 at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium, the organizers are currently developing a hybrid indoor-outdoor racing circuit as well as all kinds of radio equipment. Nicholas Horbaczewski, the head of Drone Racing League, said:
Right now, we need to develop the sport, we need to develop the technology, we need to build a fan base, make them aware of what’s going on, make them care about the pilots and the results. I think once you’ve done that, there’s a lot of ways sports can evolve.
Although currently in its infancy, Horbaczewski hopes professional drone racing will one day become a multi-billion dollar industry with a broad and diverse audience. Following its inaugural event at NFL’s Sun Life Stadium, DRL will move to its second location, which is Los Angeles.
Source: Drone Racing League