If you’re a drone enthusiast, you definitely don’t want to miss the inaugural World Drone Prix. This event, which takes place next weekend in Dubai, showcases 32 competing teams from around the globe.
Although he’s not racing, the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan is very involved in the race, as well. He’s doing all he can to promote drone technology and racing as a sport.
Many people are surprised to learn that Dubai was the first city, world-wide, to focus on drone technology in a non-governmental fashion. Instead, the city concentrated on consumer-related drone use.
According to the official World Drone Prix website, Dubai also presented the 2015 “Drone for Good Award” to one lucky winner. The award was a used as a means to showcase positive uses of drones, by way of humanitarian efforts.
In a recent Fortune interview, Ryo Rex, founder of 2014’s Aerial Grand Prix races ( held in Los Angeles), had this to say about the world event.
“The mission of World Drone Prix was created to provide a professional arena which the community would benefit from, as opposed to the other way around. A few have taken the leap towards a full-time drone pilot. Some have their own drone manufacturing companies, some are fully sponsored by corporations. We hope this continues so more pilots can do this full-time.”
Currently, avid drone pilots compete whenever and wherever they can. It’s not uncommon to see drones flying in parking garages, parks, office buildings, fields, canyons, and more. The promoters of the World Grand Prix hope that the event is successful in transforming drone flying from a part-time hobby to a professional sport.
— TorontoStar (@TorontoStar) March 6, 2016
Each team, participating next weekend, was chosen based on videos they submitted for consideration. Although the videos had to meet certain guidelines, pilots were allowed to use any drone and component parts they wished. This ruling was set into motion, in order to give the hundreds of drone-related manufacturers (big and small) more much-needed publicity.
Participating teams race for free. Race sponsors prefer to promote skilled pilots, as opposed to making money off of them. This year, Skydive Dubai is just one of three main partnering sponsors.
Let’s face it, no sport is complete without hordes of enthusiastic fans. Right? The Verge recently touched on the topic, discussing just how fans prefer to watch drone racing videos.
Obviously, pilots don’t have much of a choice, when it comes to their initial view of the race. However, when all is said and done and the most exciting moments have been preserved on video, fans get a choice.
Some of the best videos to watch are those that show both first and third person views. Watching a video from this perspective allows you to see things as if you’re riding on the drone one minute and watching from the sidelines the next. There’s nothing like the best of both worlds when drone watching.
All participants of the World Drone Prix must download and agree the “Code,” which can be found here. It outlines all of the rules and regulations set forth by the World Organization of Racing Drones. Event specific rules are always released separately, shortly before each race.
If you watch the news on a somewhat frequent basis, you’re probably aware that drones oftentimes get a bad rap. It’s up to you to decide whether or not this “bad press” is justified.
It’s enlightening to know that good things come out of drone racing, too. That being said, mark your calendars for March 11 and 12. Watch the live streaming broadcast of the World Drone Prix, from the comfort of home. You won’t regret it!
[Photo by Mila Supinskaya via Shutterstock]