A few years ago, being nifty with a joystick at the age of fifteen might have won you nothing more than impressing your best friends and gaming buddies. It was in fact seen as a rather hermit-like activity, with your parents pestering you to go outside, and get some fresh air. However, one young boy from England has changed that forever, after beating over 150 other competitors from all around the world in the first World Drone Prix in Dubai. Sound impressive?
Sound impressive? Well, it’s not as impressive as the huge paycheck he took home with him as a prize. Fifteen-year-old Luke Bannister took home a whopping $250,000 home to his parents for winning. We bet they don’t bug him to stop playing games now…
World Drone Prix
The World Drone Prix took place March 11th in Dubai, at the world’s first ever drone racetrack at Skydive. The World Drone Prix involved several drone events that included participant pilots from all over the world, to control their drones around the courses and obstacle courses by using a virtual reality headset. Steering their drones around in first person view, without falling off the track. Not a task for those who get motion sickness, let us tell you.
This isn’t the first drone racing contest that has taken place, however there isn’t a single one that compares to the World Drone Prix in Dubai. Particularly with over $1 million on offer as prizes, which were up for grabs through several racing categories; such as fastest lap, fastest team, crowd favourite and more. However, the coveted track racing prize was the one that was being highly fought for, with over 150 teams competing in the beginning, which was then taken down to just 32 for the World Drone Prix. They were then of made to battle it out against each other on the tracks, with pilots taking short cuts and spectacular dives to try and become the winner. After the races, the 32 was cut down to 16, which was then followed by the semi-finals and then the event that everyone was waiting for…
The Grand Finale
Fifteen-year-old Bannister’s team from the UK, battled their way through and defeated Dubai Drone Tek, Meshcheriakov and Dutch Drone Team SQG, who took home paychecks of $125,000, $50,000 and $25,000. Let’s be honest, that isn’t exactly pocket money. The runners up prizes alone show the popularity of the sport and the pure need for such entertainment.
Dubai has been fighting for the recognition of drones for years, and a cabinet-level minister used the World Drone Prix to launch the much awaited World Future Sport Games, which is planned to take off in December 2017. The event was created to “drive innovation and contributions to research and technology”, according to the man himself. Other than drones, the event will showcase various technological advances such as driverless car racing and robotic soccer, which we can’t wait for.
No matter what success the World Future Sport Games event will bring, it is clear to see that Dubai has faith in the future of technology. Not only that but it is clear their new event will bring in participants, crowds, and money, along with new talent into their country to further advances.