You may have seen the Drone Racing League on ESPN affiliates lately and wondered what is going on?
Location: a presumably abandoned and unassuming warehouse. Yet, there is a crowd gathered, and you can hear the faint whir of electronic gadgets. This is the setting of the up-and-coming Drone Racing League. It is a result of a two year old start-up, based out of New York with the primary goal of establishing the racing of remote-controlled lightweight air crafts as the next major spectator sport.
It’s easy to see the appeal with high speeds, ever changing, diverse and visually appealing LED-lit courses; not to mention the cutting edge technology being used. It is perfect for the tech geek and adrenaline junky alike.
Each pilot navigates a drone through a pre-determined maze at speeds of up to 90 miles an hour. Crashes happen often and it is incredible to see and think about the reflexes needed for each heat.
Where Did the Drone Racing League Come From?
This sport got its amateur start in Australia in 2012. DRL was born when DRL CEO and co-founder Nick Horbaczewski found it interesting and wanted to get in on the ground floor of the next up and coming sport. Some may recognize Horbaczewski from his contributions to the Tough Mudder as their CRO.
— PSFK (@PSFK) April 13, 2017
As with any growing sport, there were interesting hurdles to be overcome. The biggest, and most lucrative for the league, was the development and implementation of new cameras to capture all the high speed action throughout the course. The other, of course, were the drones themselves.
This sport is the perfect match for the tech minded and fast of reflex. Pilots must fly the DRL specific drones which lack stabilization technology, hover ability and other features that make flying easier. Losing those elements lets them fly faster and with more agility than the commercially available drones.
— Herman Djohan (@hermandjohan) August 1, 2017
It’s worth it too, with the winner of the first season landing a $100,000 contract for the 2017 season. Other pilots have won $75,000 and a chance to fly the Bud Light drone
If you think you have what it takes, you can test your skill with the video game based off of the sport and potentially earn a spot as a pilot in the next season. Keep an eye out for the replica toys soon to hit shelves.