Many may agree that one of the coolest things to come along in the past few years is drones. You can buy them at package stores, and go home and start using it. The next thing also is the GoPro to along with your drone.
Now, you may have seen on ESPN at times a new sport has emerged which is Drone Racing where the person with the remote puts on a pair of goggles that fills their view with the live video feed from the drone’s tiny camera. Professional drone racers.
The title of professional drone racer sounds like the cushiest job in the world: Get out of bed, go fly a drone. But unlike most other sports, it demands a high level of engineering skill. “Some people think of drone racers as early skateboarders, where they are finding empty pools and are just skating anywhere they can,” said Nick Horbaczewski, CEO and founder of the Drone Racing League. “But these guys are very sophisticated. They’re doing more than just flying the drones. They’re developing their own drones; they’re working on the hardware. This is his profession, it’s his hobby. It’s where he lives.”
The Drone Nationals in Sacramento, California, in July 2015 was the first major international competition for drone racing, attracting pilots from across the globe. It featured a competitive course, A-list sponsors from the drone world and a prize purse of $25,000. More importantly, it was the first time, so many drone pilots were all in one place. Gathered together, the pilots were able to geek out about gear, compare notes about their rigs and discuss their local scenes.
So, you want to be a professional drone racer? Then you should probably download Drone Racing League Simulator from Steam. To coincide with the game’s official launch, watchmaker Swatch has announced its sponsoring tryouts for the 2018 season, where top prize is a spot in the 2018 DRL Allianz World Championship Season and a $75,000 contract.
The simulator is pretty much a 1:1 translation of official courses, and because of that, the skills apparently directly translate from the game to real-world racing. The DRL found its first racer via the game earlier this year, Jacob “Jawz” Schneider.
FPV (first person view) flying means that pilots only see what the drone sees. This is accomplished by live streaming footage from a camera mounted on the nose of the drone. The image is transmitted via radio waves (typically 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz frequency) to goggles or monitor worn by the pilot. The remote control, drone, and goggles are all connected via radio and must transmit with sufficient speed and reliability to allow effective control. This technology is very new and is constantly being improved. FPV goggles on the market range from $50 to $500, with the more expensive goggles offering more and better features. Some of these features include a wide field of view (FOV), receiver diversity, head tracking, multiple frequency settings, and DVR (digital video recorder) recording functionality.
While the pilot always requires goggles, some drone racing organizations insist they should also be used among spectators alike by simply switching the frequency to the channel of the racer you want to watch.
Any drone could be used to race, however competitive FPV racing leagues require drones to meet certain standards. The Drone Racing League (DRL) makes all the drones used in its events in house; pilots are supplied with drones, backup drones, and parts by the league itself, not independently.
Racing drones are designed to focus all their energy into moving forward, as opposed to a photography/video drone which is focused more on hovering. A photography quadcopter design will typically have four motors configured in an X-pattern, all equally spaced apart. A racing model will typically have its four motors configured in an H-pattern configured to thrust the drone forward, not up. Because of their light weight and electric motors with large amounts of torque, drones can accelerate and maneuver with great speed and agility. This makes for very sensitive controls and requires a pilot with quick reaction times and a steady hand.
The DRL focus uses an indoor course, single-lap courses with many movie props and LED illuminated shapes for obstacles.
DR1 Racing’s Champions Series is an outdoor racing circuit, flying in iconic locations around the world. Each location or race uses a mixture of environmental and man made elements to create the course.
How much money can you make racing drones? Luke Bannister, a 15-year-old drone racing pilot from the UK, won the inaugural World Drone Prix in Dubai on Sunday. The race, held in the United Arab Emirates, had a $1 million total prize purse, and Bannister took home first place, earning himself $250,000 of that prize money.
How fast do drones go? Skilled pilots fly quad-copter drones through three-dimensional courses at speeds up to 120mph. DRL drones are custom built for speed, agility, and performance.
We are sure you will be seeing and hearing more of drone racing ahead, and probably will be better than now as still in its infancy. For more information on being a professional drone racer check the The Drone Racing League
Here is non racing drone with the GoPro over Malibu