The Drone Racing League (DRL) can best be described as the NASCAR for drone enthusiasts. It features the same edge-of-your-seat adrenaline rush, only in the sky instead of a ground-based racetrack. If you’re interested in learning more about the DRL, keep reading.
What is the DRL?
The DRL is a universally recognized organization that’s committed to professional drone racing. According to the company’s founder and CEO Nicholas Horbaczewski, DRL has received more than $8 million in funding, some of which came from Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross’ venture capital firm. Another notable investor in DRL is Matthew Bellamy, lead singer for the alternative rock band Muse.
So, what makes DRL stand out in today’s era of fly-by-night sports? Horbaczewski says that more than 100,000 people participate in drone racing. While most of these people race drones recreationally, there’s a growing market for professional drone racing – a niche that DRL wants to fill.
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In 2015, some 120 drone pilots participants in the country’s first drone-racing competition, which occurred in Sacramento, California. Fast forward to 2016, and DRL experienced a full season of drone racing. And in case you were wondering, the 2017 season is currently underway, with pilots throughout the country gearing up to participate in the DRL for a chance to be crowned the World Champion.
Why Drone Racing?
Drone racing is a truly one-of-a-kind sport with some qualities that simply aren’t found elsewhere. While remote-controlled (RC) vehicle racing has been around for quite some time, drone racing is still relatively new. However, many pilots will argue that drone racing is more thrilling than its RC racing counterpart.
DRL pilots wear special goggles that display video from their drone in real-time. This allows pilots to see everything their drone sees. For beginners, this first-person view (FPV) can be somewhat nauseating. Through time, practice and dedication, however, you’ll eventually grow accustomed to piloting your drone via this FPV perspective.
The DRL places many obstacles throughout the course, forcing pilots to zig-zag their way to the finish line. This adds an extra level of uncertainly to the sport, with some pilots crashing their drones.
Of course, there’s also huge money to be made in professional drone racing. At the young age of just 15, Luke Bannister earned $250,000 for taking home first place at the World Drone Prix in Dubai. The total prize pool for the competition was $1 million.
You can check out the official DRL YouTube channel by clicking here.