DRL Launches 2016 Season with Official Video, Website and First Of Its Kind Race Platform
Today, The Drone Racing League (DRL) announced the launch of the premier competitive drone racing circuit. With six key events in 2016, DRL will enlist elite drone pilots from around the globe to compete on the world’s most complex and unique courses. The company has invested heavily in custom developed racing drones, which will travel at speeds in excess of 80 MPH while navigating courses built through abandoned malls, NFL stadiums, and subway tunnels, culminating in an international World Championship set against an iconic backdrop.
Pilots control the drone via remote control, wearing goggles which show the video feed from the drone’s cockpit. It offers a perfect blend of physical and virtual worlds – a real life video game.
“Today is an incredibly exciting day for the millions of racing, VR, drone and video game fans around the world,” said Nicholas Horbaczewski, DRL Founder and CEO. “This is the start of a new sport, designed to bring audiences into the race with custom content and a first person view of the action. We’re committed to building the best drones, most inspiring courses and creating the ultimate proving ground for the world’s greatest drone pilots.”
DRL will air its first race “Level 1: Miami Lights” on February 22, launching the 2016 season. The second race will take place in Los Angeles in mid-March at the abandoned, cinematic Hawthorne Mall. For the remaining events, cities under consideration include: Detroit, MI, Auckland, New Zealand, and Mexico City, Mexico. Early events will be invitation only for the world’s top drone pilots.
Investing In Groundbreaking Drone Technology
All of the DRL drones are custom designed and built in-house by a team of engineers and drone experts, equipping pilots to push the boundaries of FPV (First Person View) flight. The unique design, known as the DRL Racer 2, allows the team to:
- Optimize content for both pilots and audiences at home. Each drone is hand made for performance, range and visibility with over 100 color-changing LEDs enabling the audience to distinguish one drone from another.
- Utilize a custom radio communications infrastructure allowing drones to fly around barriers and across 3D courses that previously prevented competitive racing - creating epic flight lines and the most complex uses of venues.
- Create the most competitive professional racing platform through standardized performance and a level playing field.
- Maintain a large fleet of drones, so that they can be assembled quickly and survive hardcore 3D venues – which introduce lots of crashing and risk-taking.
Building The Sport League of the Future
The company, founded in 2015, has built an in-house team of race specialists and drone engineers to reimagine the traditional sports league. With multiple heats per event and continually evolving courses, each pilot will be forced to improve as the season goes on or risk elimination. In summary:
- There are three stages to a DRL race event: Qualifyings, SemiFinals and Finals. Each round contains multiple heats, so that pilots get a few attempts at racing the same line.
- DRL races are in enormous venues, with the course bending through tunnels, up flights of stairs and around razor sharp turns. In each race there are gates that the drones must fly through to stay on track, miss a gate and the pilot is disqualified from the heat. Points are awarded based on checkpoints and finishing time – just like common racing video games.
- Pilots who finish the season with the most points are invited to the world championship where they can compete for the title of world’s best pilot.
Growing A Global Community of Drone Racing Fans
Centered around a community of thousands of drone pilots and the increasing demand for VR and FPV racing content, DRL is best positioned to bring the incredible skills of an elite group of pilots to passionate enthusiasts and a new global audience.
- A growing industry: Hobby drones are on pace to be $4.4B category by 2020 and some retailers like Amazon are selling more than 10k hobby drones per month.
- Finding the next sports hero: Later this year, DRL will have an open call for new pilots. In order to qualify, candidates will be able to participate in a videogame-based tournament. The beta version of the DRL videogame is now available on www.drl.io
- Best in class content: Each DRL race will be captured on state of the art film equipment – hundreds of cameras, including several broadcast cameras, jibs and spidercam cable cameras – to ensure the highest quality content and most accurate view of intense competition.
In addition to announcing race plans for the 2016 season and launching the first series of official DRL content, DRL has a growing foundation of investors joining RSE Ventures to support R&D and the rapid scaling of the league. The list includes: CAA Ventures, Hearst Ventures, Strauss Zelnick (CEO of Take-Two Interactive Software), Allen Debevoise (founder of Machinima), Grant Gittlin (CXO of Medialink), Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Lux Capital, Courtside Ventures, and Gary Vaynerchuk with Vayner/RSE.
For more information on the 2016 race season, visit www.drl.io. To join the conversation, follow DRL on Facebook at facebook.com/thedroneracingleague, on Twitter @DroneRaceLeague, and on Instagram @drone_racing.
ABOUT DRLDRL is the premier drone racing league. A sports and media company, DRL combines world-class flight skill and proprietary technology to create engaging drone racing content with mass appeal. In 2016 DRL will launch a global events series culminating in a World Championship. Founded by Nicholas Horbaczewski in 2015, DRL is a privately held company headquartered in NYC.
CONTACT INFOBen Johnson, Head of Communications, DRL