Drone racing may be the sport of the future. American's appetite for quadcopters and the thrill of watching experienced drones racing 70 miles per hour has sparked a huge interest in the sport.
The Drone Racing League launched this week by founder and CEO Nick Horbaczewski who spoke with our consumer technology reporter Jamey Tucker. "It's just what you think, a bunch of drones at the start line; they go around a 3 dimensional complex course,” he said.
The drones are built for racing. Pilots wear headsets which give them a firstperson view of what it would be like to actually sit in the cockpit of a drone. The racecourse has obstacles which the drones must fly through or around. The last race was held at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, where the Dolphins play.
"We whizzed around the edge of the stadium," said Horbaczewski. "We went down in the concourse, we went down through the tunnels and the basement up through these big circular people movers it's basically Star Wars." Watching a race does seem like a podrace. The drones do crash into walls which not only eliminates the pilot from the race, but often destroys the drone."
"Because we're using so much power, our races generally last about 90seconds to 2 minutes," said Horbaczewski.
The league has heard from television networks that are interested to see how the races might come across on tv. The league faces the challenge of making it a live spectator sport since the drones go inside the stadium and down hallways and tunnels. Horbaczewski said the league could use JumboTrons and fans can strap on headsets to see what the pilots are seeing.
"It's really fun to watch it live, so I think you will see it as a live sport sooner than you think," he said.
The owner of the Miami Dolphins, Stephen M. Ross invested $1 million in the league in initial funding.