Robot sports don’t necessarily mean smashing machines to pieces - it’s not always that Pacific Rim’s or Gundam’s exciting fight to our pleasure
. If you’ve read my Robocar article
, you probably now know the rising hype of the electric cars. Apparently this amazing creation has been developed to race, “driverless”.
But here’s something you might have not heard about: a robo-race that takes place in the air, the sport of the future, drone racing. Well, it’s pretty much what it sounds like- pilots wearing VR-like headsets to provide them the drone’s point of view and to navigate these custom-built drones through neon-lit obstacle courses like abandoned malls, NFL stadiums and subway tunnels as quickly as possible. These drones can go as fast as 80 miles per hour!
These, though, aren’t your regular shop-purchased drones- the control schemes for these machines are much more complex and hands-on. Here, you use a big remote control with joysticks similar to an RC plane instead of just an app on your phone. “There's a lot of calculations, and you’re doing it in three dimensions at very high speed,” says Nick Horbaczewski CEO of the Drone Racing League. “When you watch the really good pilots, it’s like they’re using the Force.”
Fast Company named Drone Racing League or DRL is one of the top ten most innovative companies in sports. But such New York-based business is actually just one of the several startups trying to establish itself as the NFL equivalent of drone racing, which is certainly picking up the financing and endorsements to make a run at dominance. But, of course, DRL isn’t the only game in this field. There are other leagues like Drone Sports Association, International Drone Racing Association and the Aerial Sports League. The latter is even opening Drone Sports World in San Francisco where everyone can try and be a pilot racing a drone!
So, do you have what it takes to be the best drone pilot in the world?