In June 2017 Alexandra Palace, North London will host the debuting Drone Racing League in the UK. The ‘People’s Palace’ has been named as the “iconic” London venue to host the international championship race on June 13.
Alexandra Palace has been chosen due to its strong association with the City of London. The venue frequently holds large-scale events such as concerts and trade shows and even has an ice rink. Nicholas Horbaczewski, the CEO of the Drone Racing League (DRL) claims that the venue “[has] held a huge array of events, but nothing quite like this.”
The event will consist of pilots flying custom-designed racing craft at speeds of up to 120mph through a series of LED hoops, strategically placed through a number of rooms throughout Crystal Palace. “It will be moving up through the rafters and cutting through all the different spaces the building has to offer,” said Horbaczewsk. Previous events have been held in venues such as the Miami Dolphins stadium in the US.
The drone pilots wear first-person-view goggles to give them a drone-eye view of the race and drone’s position. Each drone is fitted with two cameras; one that streams a live standard definition video to the pilot, and another that records high definition for online video sharing recording each angle, something that Horbaczewsk claims that a lot of energy and effort has been dedicated to.
Sky Sports has been broadcasting the events which are rapidly growing in popularity, including a winner-takes-all World Championship finale, as part of its $1bn investment into the Drone Racing League. Sky Sports has partnered with the DRL in a bid to bring the developing sport to the UK. The DRL has already raised £6.06 million in investments from a number of people, including Muse’s Matt Bellamy. This year Dubai held the Drone Racing Grand Prix, which was won by Britain’s own Luke Bannister.
Drones have been a concept used throughout spy films for years, then seemingly “out of the blue” became a consumer good, delivering us a small piece of the future. Drones have grown in popularity at an astonishing rate, and have since become an integrated part of life. Lower end drones were introduced in Primark this year, a true testament to how drones have become a mass consumer product. Drones have become such a pressing issue that the Hosue of Lords has called for compulsory registration of drones.
Before drones were a consumer plaything, they were becoming highly developed, and increasingly incorporated into various security systems. Though the spotlight is no longer focused toward the “spy drones” of the future, that doesn’t mean that developments have come to a halt. Drones are sure to be plentiful at the Security and Counter Terror Expo this coming May at London Olympia, where fresh01 will be discussing security training and awareness via eLearning.