The Drone Racing League has launched a global professional drone racing circuit, with courses venues ranging from football stadiums to abandoned malls, the league announced in a press release today.
The drones, which can reach speeds of more than 80 miles per hour, are directed by a pilot through a remote control. The pilot wears goggles showing first-person view from the drone's perspective.
Pilots will use custom drones built by the DRL for their races. The DRL–issued drones were designed and built by an in-house team of engineers and experts.
“Today is an incredibly exciting day for the millions of racing, [virtual reality], drone and video game fans around the world,” said Nicholas Horbaczewski, DRL Founder and CEO. “This is the start of a new sport, designed to bring audiences into the race with custom content and a first person view of the action. We’re committed to building the best drones, most inspiring courses and creating the ultimate proving ground for the world’s greatest drone pilots.”
The league will consist of six events—with three stages to each event—beginning with one in Sun Life Stadium in Miami on Feb. 22. The second race will be held in Los Angeles. The remaining events have yet to be determined, but several American and cities abroad are under consideration.
Each stage (Qualifyings, Semi-Finals, Finals) will have multiple heats, so pilots have several chances to make it through the course. With small vehicles traveling at such high speeds through narrow courses, the league expects crashes to occur early and often.
Pilots are awarded points based on finishing times and reaching certain checkpoints along the course. Pilots with the most points after all the events will be invited to the World Championship, in a location and a time to be announced.
DRL will host a video game tournament later this year to find new pilots to participate in the league. The beta version of the video game is online.
– Daniel Hersh