Drone racing, the new sport that sees pilots fly high-speed drones – or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) – is now set to become a more accessible sport for South Africans.
Thanks to the launch of Drone Racing Africa (DRA) – the first fully funded drone racing league and series in Africa – junior school children through to adults will be catered for in this dynamic technology meets sport space.
Globally, drone racing is exploding and has already become a mainstream sport in many markets, spurring professional leagues and significant prize-money events such as the World Drone Prix held in Dubai in March and the Drone World Championships hosted last month in Hawaii. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) expects global drone sales to reach 9,4-million units this year, with revenue of $3-billion.
“The massive growth potential for this sport in Africa impacts numerous industries including education, technology, FMCG and communications. For individuals, there are undeniable career prospects so it’s an incredibly appealing sport,” says Drone Racing Africa (DRA) CEO Simon Robinson.
The high-speed, competitive sport sees pilots manoeuvre drones and other UAV through three-dimensional courses. Pilots steer from the point of view of the actual drone by wearing first person view (FPV) goggles that display a live image transmitted by an onboard camera.
The DRA drones will range from entry level through to custom designed drones built by DRA engineers to exacting standards of speed, performance, and endurance, and optimised for drone racing.
DRA hopes to develop the sport on the continent. While initially focused on launching in South Africa, DRA plans to launch within the next 12 months in east and west sub-Saharan Africa.
Starting from this month, DRA will be hosting two-day programmes across the country that offer an introduction to the new techno-sport.