The Drone Racing League is back again for another season airing on TV, putting twelve drone racing pilots together for an all-out drone race.
The 2019 DRL Allianz World Championship Season premieres on NBC and Twitter this Sunday, August 11 at 2 p.m. ET. It will also air worldwide on sports broadcast networks including NBC, NBC Sports, Sky Sports, ESPN Brazil, ProSieben and Groupe AB. The season will include what DRL says is their “biggest live race ever,” which will be held Sept. 8 in Phoenix, Ariz.
Drone racing for TV is a sort of Formula One / eSports mashup, where drones are controlled from afar by pilots wearing “first-person view” goggles that show a live video feed from the drone’s “cockpit.”
This year, the pilots will fly custom-built DRL Racer4 drones, which the Drone Racing League is dubbing “the next-generation racing drone.” This is the fourth iteration of drones designed specifically by DRL, and the FPG drones can go from 0-90 miles per hour in less than a second.
A version of those drones are going to be made available to consumers as the DRL Racer4 Street drone. The drones will be made available for pre-order for $599 on Kickstarter. Though, take caution, as always, before pre-ordering any product through Kickstarter, as Kickstarter does not issue refunds if projects are not delivered as advertised.
The Drone Racing League has raised millions of dollars in funding since its inception, from investors including Hearst Ventures, CAA Ventures and Muse lead singer Matthew Bellamy. One of the companies biggest investments in the past came from Miami Dolphin’s owner Stephen Ross’s venture-capital firm RSE Ventures.
Ross has generated media controversy this week after news that the longtime Republican donor and billionaire would hold a Hamptons fundraiser for President Donald Trump, in which attendees will pay up to $100,000 for a picture with the President and $250,000 to listen in on a roundtable discussion. The news has incited protests of some of the other brands Ross is also invested in, including Equinox and SoulCycle.
Though, Ross has also been openly critical of Trump at times.
“I have known Donald Trump for 40 years, and while we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others and I have never been bashful about expressing my opinions,” Ross said in a prepared media statement. “I have been, and will continue to be, an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education and environmental sustainability.”
Want to get into drone racing yourself? Here’s my recommendation for getting started.