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article imageWill drone racing become the next big thing in sports?

By Tim Sandle     Sep 17, 2016 in Technology
Either reflecting the pace of technological development, or perhaps reflective of the need to find content for the mass of television channels, drone racing looks set to become a new sport with the establishment of a televised league.
Various pastimes not immediately considered as popular spectaculars for the television viewing public have made the transition onto television screens. This began with ten pin bowling and poker, followed by Scrabble and spelling bees. In terms of technology, the BBC ran a popular series called Robot Wars (which has recently had a come back). Here enthusiasts built robots and attempted to smash a competitor mechanized device to pieces.
Now that unmanned aerial vehicles (or unmanned aircraft systems) are affordable for many people to buy, and based on the array of different designs and technical abilities, the racing of drones has developed into a small-scale pastime in some areas.
Can this activity, often played out by shadowy figures on plains or woodlands, become a hit on television? Yes, says ESPN. The broadcaster is hoping that speeding drones will be the next non-contact “sport” to find a mass audience.
The channel has declared that the "Drone Racing League" will begin in October, as an initial ten-episode series. The air-borne acrobatics will be shown on ESPN and ESPN2 in North America, according to The New York Times, as well as being broadcast on Sky in Europe.
The format is there will be five races around the world for pilots to earn season points. The pilots with most points then qualify for the World Championship race. The races will be obstacle-filled courses, and a standard race will have six competitors who will control their drones through virtual reality headsets. The drones, at top speed, will travel at around 80 miles per hour.
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