You might have heard of the drone racing league. In this article you’r going to discover what this incredible thing is, how you can get involved and whos already involved. But lets start at the beginning. What is it??
What is the drone racing league?
Its like something out of a sci-fi film to watch. Loads of little lights darting around a massive futuristic looking space. Its amazing to see and looks like what you would imagine the future to be as a child.
The drone racing league is a league that allows professional drone pilots to race each other around a course. And yes, this is a profession. These guys get paid to race drones, and its gaining in popularity all the time. The drone racing league is played out on big sports networks like Sky sports and NBC. Its becoming big money.
The pilots wear a first person headset and the drones have a camera mounted on the front so the pilot sees whats in front of the drone. Its almost like they are sat in the drone.
Like any league, the races are played out over a full year, a season, with races on different courses around the globe and each pilot amassing points as the season goes on depending on where they finish.
drone racing league drones
Looking at the videos and seeing the speeds these drones get to you might be wondering if these are standard drones.
You can buy ready built racing drones on amazon (Which are great fun by the way!) but the racing league have built their own for every season. Why do they do this? Its so that every racer is on a level playing field. They’re all using the same drone so nobody has an advantage…And it also means that they can repair them super quick.
The drone racing league currently uses the racer 4 drone. It looks like this :
This is the 4th iteration of the drone they have used. Its very fast having a top speed of nearly 80mph and like the other racer drones that the league uses, these have colored LED’s so you can see which racer is which.
If you are used to commercially available drones on Amazon, then this might not look like you expect. The drone racing league drones are stripped back, almost basic. They want to save weight so they go as fast as you can but still maintaining maneuverability.
The basic chassis is just a handful of parts, keeping it simple so there is less to go wrong. But it is all still carbon fibre, for strength and lightweight. Then there are the 80A ESC’s and the 8-10S motors. These things are fast and lightweight.
Each drone has a camera, transmitters and batteries just like every other drone, but the difference is that the engineers have custom built systems so the drones can fly around solid concrete buildings without the pilot loosing the camera feed.
drone racing league simulator
So you want to join in? If you think you have what it takes, there’s actually a simulator if you want to have a go at the racing here.
Its not the real thing, but we are told its pretty damn close. The team have spent years developing it and have gone to great lengths to try and make sure its as real as it gets.
Where can you watch it?
You can watch drone racing league live in twitter or on NBC and NBCSN, but there are people trying to turn the league over to premium TV channels, the same way boxing and F1 have gone.
Every season their are 12 pilots that compete in the season. These are the current pilots that were either previous winners of large drone racing tournaments or were chosen by a series of open tryouts completed on simulator for 2020 :
- Amari – CHRISTIAN VAN SLOUN
- Collision – BRETT COLLIS
- Gab707 – GABRIEL KOCHER
- Headsup – EVAN TURNER
- Jet – JORDAN TEMKIN
- Mewo – CORY IBANEZ
- Moda – JINGHAO LAI
- Nubb – BLAKE SAMS
- Nurk – PAUL NURKKALA
- Phluxy – CHRIS SPANGLER
- TC – TIMOTHY TROWBRIDGE
- Vanover – ALEX VANOVER
Watch the racing!
Enough! Lets see some drone racing.
This is an overview of the 2019 season but there is loads of others on YouTube :