The first World Drone Prix, hosted in Dubai, was won by a team led by a 15-year old pilot from Somerset. The prize was netted by the Tornado X-Blades Banni UK, headed by Luke Bannister who won a total of £174,000.
During a drone race the pilots in the race sit in racing seats with goggles on. The goggles provide them with a live feed from a camera mounted on to the drone. The actual track the drones race on is behind the pilots. The race is a fast paced 12 lap race.
During the race pilots had to take at least one pit stop so that the batteries in their drones could be replaced.
Pilots also had the chance to take dangerous short cuts and watch on as their drones crashed in to the ground, or in to each other, as the spectators cheered in delight.
Luke told reporters that he has only been flying drones for a little over a year. He says that he enjoys the freedom of drone racing – how he can fly through and around things. He said that although the track was a challenge, he enjoyed the light show, as the whole track was lit up.
People have compared drone racing to competitive video game playing. There’s definitely money involved in the sport. SuperData, a gaming-research firm from New York, said that eSports brought in nearly £522 million worldwide last year.
Nigel Tomlinson, the manager for Luke’s team, said that the crossover with video gaming was clear from the HD goggles. Nigel also said that the prize money was to be divided up between all 43 members of Luke’s team.
But just what is Luke going to do with the money? It’s a bit boring but he plans to save the money. All he plans to do right now is go back to sleep and go back to school, and wait for the next event later in the year.