01 Jan Drone Racing League Now a Sport
Drone Racing League
With the rise of high-speed drones as drones become ever more technologically advanced, many drone enthusiasts have taken to racing their unmanned aircraft against each other in a test of skill. This phenomenon is on the rise and there is now an official Drone Racing League, where competitors wear displays on their heads that show a live video feed from an HD camera on the drone. This means they are racing from a first-person view; they are the drone’s eyes. Some videos of first-person drone racing have gotten millions of views and enthusiasm for the sport is growing all the time. Much of the following information is directly from http://thedroneracingleague.com/
The Drone Racing League already has $8 million invested in it. It creates all the quad-copter drones included in the races so that the playing field will be even. This is not a test of who has the best drone; it is all about drone piloting. They have complex racing courses with 3 dimensional elements that take full advantage of quad-copter drones’ exceptional maneuverability. The drones have LED lights on them for increased visibility by spectators. A points system determines the winner. The competitors fly in multiple heats and score points by passing checkpoints and finishing the course in a certain amount of time. After all the heats, whoever has the most points wins.
Drone race in Dolphins Stadium
The first ever official drone race took place in Miami, Florida, in Dolphins Stadium. This kicked off the first season, in which the pilots competing were chosen from those who were successful in previous drone racing competitions. However, the field will be opened next season for any great flier to have a chance at competing professionally. Here’s a teaser from the Drone Racing League’s very first race:
As the video suggests, there is a considerable amount of crashing in the Drone Racing League. The drones are moving at up to over 80 MPH through an obstacle course, so this is understandable. An entire fleet of identical drones is built for every race. The competitors have a queue of drones ready to go during every event, so although crashing disqualifies them from a heat, there are multiple heats for them to get a good time in. One of the best parts of the races are the crashes; they’re fun to watch. Due to the speeds, they shatter into dozens of pieces, breaking beyond any repair.
Drone Racer 2
The Drone Racing League’s engineers design the drones, which are called Drone Racer 2. They weigh 800 grams and are very fast and agile; able to turn on a dime. They can perform complex maneuvers at high speeds. They transmit a real-time video feed into the pilot’s goggles, which provides the major benefits of increasing maneuver accuracy and allowing the pilots to fly the drone in areas that are out of sight line. They utilize patented radio technology that ensures responsiveness in complex race courses with lots of solid objects like concrete between the remote and the drone. Here’s this information and more in this intense video!:
Drone Racing League events were aired on ESPN for the first season, which ended with the World Championship on November 20th. Because of all the potential fame and fortune you might be interested in becoming a pilot in this league yourself. They have launched a drone racing simulator. Success on the simulator could lead becoming a pilot in the Drone Racing League, which can bring contracts of up to $75,000 a year.
The simulator is available on PC and Mac and you’ll need a fast computer for it to work right. It requires a Bluetooth or Xbox controller, because although you can use the arrow keys, they are far from ideal for the simulator. It’s incredibly difficult, just like real drone racing. But you can see what it’s like to be a drone pilot and even qualify to become one without having to buy a quad-copter! The 24 top times on the qualifying race courses that you can unlock will be invited to an in-person tournament. The prize for first place will be a $75,000 contract for the 2017 season. Download it here for free: http://thedroneracingleague.com/simulator/
Drone Racing Will Only Get Bigger
As drones get faster and more people buy and fly them, an increasing amount of drone races will take place. The Drone Racing League might be the next big thing, or perhaps it will be a competitor, but it looks like professional drone racing is a new part of our world: here to stay. You can purchase racing drones from a cornucopia of retailers and they will be cheaper and more accessible in the future. I highly recommend checking out some events for the Drone Racing League in 2017 and even trying out the racing simulator to see if you have what it takes to be great.