Drone Racing Ready to Go Mainstream

Drone racing has, until very recently, been an underground sport reserved for a small number of fanatics, taking place in abandoned warehouses and fields around the world. But now, with the help of some wealthy backers and the support of a public warming to the potential of drone technology, the sport is about to take off for good...

There are quite a few drone racing organizations and leagues out there, but none has come close to the publicity that the recently formed Drone Racing League (DRL) has attracted. They've managed to take what is essentially a bunch of nerds (no offense guys) playing what is essentially a virtual reality video game, and make into a sexy-as-hell, dramatic sport to watch. 

DRL pilots race with specially designed drones

DRL pilots race with specially designed drones

On February 22nd, the world’s top drone pilots are heading to Miami for the first race in a five-race season, which will end with  a world championship event. The first race will take place in Miami’s Sun Life Stadium, normally home to football team the Miami Dolphins, but it just so happens that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is one of DRL's biggest investors. Future arenas are still being kept mysteriously quiet, but the Dolphins' stadium is being converted into a hybrid racing circuit, complete with incredible lighting and a huge amount of radio equipment to make it as drone-friendly as possible. 

Front man of British rock band Muse, Matt Bellamy, is also another high profile investor in the fledgling sport. Coincidentally, Muse' 2015 album and current tour is named 'Drones', which probably explains a lot...  

First-person Drone racing is a unique combination of a classic video game virtual reality and drone technology, and for that reason the team behind DRL expect it experience a trajectory similar to competitive online gaming. CEO Nicholas Horbaczewski has big ambitions for the future. He said, "Right now, we need to develop the sport, we need to develop the technology, we need to build a fan base, make them aware of what’s going on, make them care about the pilots and the results. I think once you’ve done that, there’s a lot of ways sports can evolve.”