Drone Racing comes to Europe
High Speed Racing with Hi-Tec Drones
Drone racing involves steering flying robots with a maximum speed of 140km/h through gates and pylons using tiny and very precise joystick movements. The pilots use virtual reality goggles to view the course in real-time, from the drone's perspective. The racer feels like they are sitting in a cockpit in the drone itself.
First Drone Champions League at Reutte in August
The sport shot to prominence in March of this year, with the World Drone Prix in Dubai. The race included a total purse of one million dollars. Now, Europe is getting in on the trend, with the Drone Champions League. The inaugural race in Reutte will feature 40 pilots from all across Europe.
The virtual captains use FPV Video goggles to run the race, as the racing drones are not always in sight. The goggles give the pilot a First Person View of the flight. The drones, which weigh only 600g, are powered by four motors and go from 0 to 100 in approximately 1.8 seconds. The drones are equipped with coloured LEDs, so that spectators can pick out their favourite drone on the course at all times.
Amazing footage on TV and Video Walls
The spectacular drone racing competitions are deliberately held in breath-taking locations. The almost-mythical backdrop of the castle ruins in Reutte will provide an amazing setting for the race, which will be broadcast in real time via video walls with time-keeping and live commentary. TV productions and media events will present the incredible images to a broad audience, and attract sponsors.
Formula 1 for the Next Generation?
Modern drones are practically indestructible. A crash at 100km/h requires, at most, replacement of small parts; the premium carbon housing takes no damage. Not only that, the purchase price remains reasonable. As such, drone racing is developing into a popular sport, particularly for those aged 15 to 45; father-son teams are especially popular.
Precise, Easy to Understand Rules
Competitors in the Drone Champions League start in heats of four. A heat takes approximately two minutes for four rounds. 40 pilots take part in the qualifying phase, although only 32 pilots compete for the title in a knock-out competition. The 12 competitors with the highest score receive a certain number of points for each Drone Champions League race. The pilot with the most points at the end of the competition is the overall winner of the Drone Champions League.
The pilot must successfully navigate every gate and obstacle for the round to count. If several drones crash within a single round, the amount of the course completed before crashing determines the number of points given. Deliberate rule-breaking or intentional crashes with other drones are punished by disqualification.
The Ideas Men
The inspiration for the Drone Champions League came from two young visionaries from Liechtenstein and Germany: Dominik Roch is a pioneering drone racer with scene connections, and Herbert Weirather is an aviation engineer and aerobatic pilot. The two are accompanied by the international sports marketing agency WWP, which helped to design and implement the championship.