Then you’re going to like what today’s guest on the Drone Radio Show has to say, because chances are, he may soon be responsible for creating a drone race club in your community. Chris Thomas is the founder of MultiGP, a grassroots racing organization with a mission to make FPV multirotor racing a real sport. With nearly 300 active chapters worldwide, MultiGP provides the rules, equipment, and software for FPV racing. He’s here to talk about the MultiGP League, why it’s different from other drone racing formats and how we can be a part of one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
In This Episode
- [01:23] Introduction to Chris Thomas, Founder of MultiGP. The league was created in April 2015 to make it easier for local drone racing chapters to organize drone racing events.
- [03:30] MultiGP Software. MultiGP created a software system that helps race organizers manage race day. The software removes many of the logistical challenges organizers face in running an event that features multiple pilots and races.
- [06:29] Chapter Growth. The league started in April 2015 and has grown in include 262 fully activated chapters. There are over 400 chapters that are fully activated or are in the process of becoming activated.
- [08:49] Course Design. MultiGP has a uniform course design so that pilots can measure their performance against other pilots worldwide, but chapters are free to develop other course designs, if thy so wish.
- [10:10] Competition. The MultiGP website includes the profiles of the pilots that are members of each chapter. Chapters have their own personality/culture and for some, rivalries have already developed in regard to who has the best club and the best pilots.
- [11:09] The Multirotors. There are standard specifications, but pilots are generally, very free to create their own racing designs.
- [12:12] Unsung Heroes. The organizers of the chapter events are the unsung heroes, as they are dedicating their time to advancing the race and the sport.
- [14:24] The Pilots. MultiGP has 5,966 registered pilots.
- [14:50] Getting Involved. Chris explains how people can get involved with MultiGP either as a participant, race/club organizer or sponsor. For those starting out, MultiGP provides support.
- [17:54] The Spectator Experience. Drone racing as a spectator sport is still evolving. Few people understand it, so it will take time for people to gain an understanding and appreciation for it. But with increase is marketing and media articles, more and more people are learning about it every week.
- [20:36] Drone Racing Community. A community of pilots, manufactures and fans is starting to emerge. It’s still highly tech oriented, but that may change as the more people are exposed to it.
- [22.12] Drone Manufactures. More and more manufactures are developing racing drones and supporting drone racing as a sport. This will propel the sport and increase the access to racing drones to people who may not wish to build their own.
- [24:18] Social Experience of Drone Racing. Using the Phoenix Cup as an example, drone racing is starting to provide a social/entertainment value beyond the race itself. It’s still very small, but there are indications that it’s happening. It will continue to evolve as people learn about drone racing.
- [27:45] Promotional Support. The promotional attention that the Drone Racing League brings to the sport can benefit the local drone race organizers. Since MultiGP already has a league infrastructure in place, they may particularly benefit as people search for local racing options as they become interested in the sport.
- [29:10] The Future. Chris talks about the challenges of growing the league and the sport. The first is maintaining communication with local chapters and supporting their efforts. The league is also creating their first World Championship race series for all chapters to participate.
- [30:58] Education Efforts. MultiGP has a strong interest and commitment to supporting education through drone technology. The league works with middle and high schools and has formed a strategic alliance with the American Modelers Association to advocate safety and education to young people.
- [35:28] Final Comments. FPV will eclipse any other radio controlled sport that has ever happen due to the commercial application of what they do – close proximity flying of remote vehicles, which has applications in many industries.
- [36:18] Closing