Teen Nabs $250K Drone Racing Prize
British teenager Luke Bannister led his team to victory in the biggest drone racing event in history. Continue reading →
Drone racing has entered the big leagues. Over the weekend, a competition in Dubai awarded a million dollars total in prize money to the champions.
British teenager Luke Bannister led his team to victory in the track race, nabbing $250,000 for first place.
Calling itself the "biggest drone racing event in history," the first World Drone Prix event brought teams from around the world together in Dubai for two days of drone racing at a site normally used for skydiving.
Each team had to go through a certification process in order to participate. Teams included a pilot and crew to help change the drone battery during mid-race pit stops. Pilots donned goggles to view a live camera feed from their drones, and guided them around the race's unique, shape-shifting aerial track.
Fifteen-year-old Bannister served as pilot for team Tornado X-Blades Banni UK. He's only been racing for a little over a year.
"You have so much freedom - you can fly over, under and through trees and around things - it's brilliant," Bannister told BBC Newsbeat. His team won after 12 laps. Local team Dubai Dronetek landed in second place and received $125,000.
Watch team Tornado X-Blades Banni UK's rollercoaster-like win along the racetrack on YouTube here. This video gives a less dizzying competition overview:
Although Bannister was the pilot, he'll be sharing the prize money with the entire Tornado X-Blades Banni UK crew. Team manager Nigel Tomlinson told the BBC that their team includes 43 people.
My prediction is that, pretty soon, a million dollars in prizes is going to seem small for this burgeoning sport. Where drone racing is headed, the sky will be the limit.
From their high perspective and discreet presence, drones have the ability to capture unique aerial images. Mobile app maker Dronestagram saw the potential for a contest and this year's winners are truly inspiring. Dronestagram executives, along with staff from National Geographic, reviewed more than 5,000 photos taken by drones around the world to identify the top winners. Here, you'll find aerial imagery ranging from snorkelers in French Polynesia to a cliff diver in Mazatlan, Mexico. Enjoy! Above: This photo radiates suspense as snorkelers swim in the center of eight gliding sharks in French Polynesia. The photo took top honors in the "Nature" category.
A custom-built drone rose above the fog to capture this photograph of the cross at the top of the Cathedral of Maringa in Brazil. It won first prize in the "Places" category.
In the "Dronies" category, which represents selfie-like photos taken with drones, an image of a group of people dressed like they are out of a Where’s Wally scene (better known as Where’s Waldo in America) won first place. Where were they really? At Limassol Carnival in Cyprus.
This picture of participants at the very beginning of La Jolla, San Diego’s Pier-To-Cove ocean race took second in the "Nature" category.
Taking second place in the "Places" category, this photo of the Mont Saint-Michel island commune in Normandy, France, features calm waters, a gorgeous landmark and a spectacular sky.
This photo features Plovdiv, an ancient Bulgarian city, lit up magically at night. The image took second price for the "Popular" category, which represents the most-liked photos.
Taking third place in the "Nature" category, this photo of a tropical island in French Polynesia shows spectacular aerial imagery of a group of people with their toes in the water, along with lush trees and a breathtaking sky. Look closely and you’ll also find a hidden rainbow.
This image of a colorful field of tulips in the Netherlands and a group of people strolling trough them took third prize in the "Places" category.
This adventure-packed photo features a cliff diver in Mazatlan, Mexico, about to plummet into crystal clear water. This image was awarded third place for the "Popular" category.