This is a special bonus edition of the Drone Radio Show podcast to highlight a unique drone racing event that is occurring as this podcast airs. Halfway across the world, more than 100 drone racing teams from all over the world are competing in the first World Drone Prix race in Dubai. Thirty-two qualifying teams will compete for the global champion’s purse of total prizes of one million dollars – the biggest purse of its kind to date.
In this episode, we hear from Omar Al Olama, Secretary General of the World Organization of Racing Drones in Dubai, who will tell us about the Drone Grand Prix and how drone racing is about to become a new world racing spectacle.
In This Episode
- [01:30] Introduction to Omar Al Olama
- [01:50] The World Drone Prix. Omar compares the World Drone Prix to Formula 1 racing, which includes a racing season that brings together the best racing teams in the world to compete in a series of races held in different countries.
- [02:14] The World Organisation of Racing Drones. The World Organisation of Racing Drones is the entity organizing the races and promoting the humanitarian uses of drones.
- [04:07] Why Dubai. Omar discusses the goal of the United Arab Emirates to promote the positive applications of drones. The World Drone Prix follows on the UAE successful “Drones For Good” campaign and it’s only natural that the country would seek other ways, like drone racing, to support and promote this Drones for Good message.
- [05:09] The Competitors. Teams were selected from all over the world, using an approach adapted from American Idol to reach as many interested peoples as possible.. The first round of qualifications involved submitting videos to the World Organisation of Racing Drones. From these submissions and from targeted events in certain countries, the list was narrowed 150 teams.
- [06:04] The Schedule. The first two days of the week long World Drone Prix will determine the 32 teams that will qualify for the World Drone Prix.
- [07:31] Meet and Greet Events. The Organisation held a series of Meet, Greet and Fly events in selected countries as pre-qualification events. These events were also used to help inform and educate the public about the World Drone Prix and the humanitarian uses of drones.
- [09:34] Crowdsourcing. The Organisation of Racing Drones used crowdsourcing methods to get feedback from the drone racing community of the rules and racing code for the World Drone Prix. The objective was to involve and build consensus on the racing framework.
- [10:41] The Teams. The World Drone Prix emphasizes teams over individual pilots. This is similar to Formula 1 racing and helps to build fan loyalty. It also recognizes that drone racing requires specialized roles, such as the pilot, technician, navigator and pit crew.
- [12:45] The Track. One of the things that immediately stands out is the track at Dubai. It is an amazing and challenging track. Omar discusses some of the considerations that went into the design and how it will challenge the pilots?
- [14:24] The Spectator Experience. About 10,000 fans are expected to view the races and with upwards of 20 million viewing live streaming via the World Drone Prix website and other media outlets.
- [15:07] Challenges. Now that racing has begun, the key challenge is continuing to promote the message of the value of drones to humanity. It’s not just a race. The race is a means for communicating the Drones for Good message to a mass audience.
- [16:18] After Dubai. The World Organisation of Racing Drones is coordinating with other countries to host future Drone Prix events. Look for announcements in the weeks ahead.
- [17:16] Final Comments. The whole point of the Drone Grand Prix is to create a better future for people and to establish legitimate sport around drone racing.
- [18:11] Closing.