DRL launches competitive drone racing circuit

Posted at 7:06 AM, Feb 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-05 08:48:25-05

Picture friends crowded around the television. Imagine hearing the excitement as the competitors get into position. The stakes are high, the course is treacherous, and the professional drone pilots are ready to fly. 

The Drone Racing League is a sports and media company that launched a competitive racing circuit this year.

DRL Founder and CEO Nick Horbaczewski, 35, saw a hobby growing in popularity and took it to new heights. 

"We are definitely doing this on a completely different scale," said Horbaczewski. 

Several big events are scheduled this year with some of the most skilled drone pilots in the world, vetted by his staff, going head to head in dramatic competition. 

DRL courses challenge pilots to deal with different floor levels, obstacles and sharp twists and turns as they fly through checkpoints.

These racing drones aren’t your standard UAVs. The aerial vehicles are built by DRL, used by every pilot in the league —and can reach speeds above 80 miles per hour.

The drones also use first person view systems or FPV. The pilot wears goggles which shows them the view from a camera fitted to the drone. They steer using a remote control. 

"Visually, it puts you in the cockpit of the drone which allows you to fly a completely different way," said DRL founder and CEO Nick Horbaczewski. "You fly a lot fast, you can fly in tighter spaces..." 

The season opener happened in December at the NFL's Sun Life Stadium in Miami. The next race is set for March at an abandoned mall in Los Angeles. 

The options for courses are vast. 

Several of the event locations are still being determined. Horbaczewski tells 7 Action News DRL has even been eyeing the Motor City as a possible race site. 

"I can tell you that DRL would be incredibly excited to come to Detroit, we love Detroit," said Horbaczewski. "I've been there a few times, it’s such an incredible city." 

We'll just have to wait and see. 

Check out more about DRL here. Also, feel free to drool over the video below.