The world of drone racing is still going strong, as ESPN announced that it has signed on the Drone Racing League for a third season.
DRL season 3 will premiere on ESPN on Sept. 6, showcasing drone pilots racing around different high-profile spots around the world, including the BMW Welt and the Adventuredome, a five-acre indoor amusement park at the Circus Circus Hotel in Las Vegas.
The TV series will feature 18 FPV pilots, racing to be crowned number one. They’ll race in three rounds (ranking, semi-finals and finals) over a series of 1-minute heats. They’ll be ranked based on times. The top racers will be invited to the 2018 DRL Allianz World Championship event in Saudi Arabia.
The decision to host the final drone race of DRL season 3 in Saudi Arabia drone race has been controversial for the drone community. This is the first time a professional drone race will have been staged in the country, which is known for being unwelcoming toward minorities including women and the LGBTQ community.
Saudi Arabia consistently ranks among the worst countries in the world for female and LGBTQ travelers and workers. Adult women must typically obtain permission from a male guardian to travel within the country, are often not served in restaurants without a male guardian and can be arrested for traveling with a man who is not her male relative or sponsor. Homosexuality and cross-dressing are illegal in the country.
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None of the pilots on DRL’s third season are women, but the location could prove problematic for female fans who want to attend the event. (Last year’s world championship race was held in London.)
DRL says its races have been watched by 55 million people in more than 75 countries around the world.