Ever wanted to fly a drone like the pros? The Drone Racing League is launching a consumer version of the same drone used in its races.
It's not exactly like a regular schmo being able to buy a Formula One car and driving it on the interstate, but it's close. The $599 drone is available for preorder on Kickstarter now and will ship in April 2020.
Similar to Nascar, all of the pilots in the Drone Racing League pilot the same model drone. While there are only 12 pilots and seven races per season, the DRL pilots go through hundreds of drones, all of which are hand-made at DRL's headquarters in New York.
While the Drone Racing League, now in its fourth season, is still getting off the ground — so to speak — the league has fielded numerous demands from viewers to make available the drones that the pilots use.
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DRL is launching the Racer4 Street, a consumer version of its fourth-generation drone, on Kickstarter, primarily to gauge interest among fans of the league. These, too, will be hand-made.
The Racer4 Street will have the same performance characteristics of the pro model, but with a few modifications. For example, the Street drone will be more modular, making it easier to swap out parts, and it will lack the advanced diagnostic tools found in the pro model. Where the Racer4 pro version has 1,000 LEDs so that pilots can more easily see it as it's flying, the Racer4 Street will have just 100 LEDs.
Otherwise, the Racer4 Street has the same specs as the pro: Four BrotherHobby 2510 1250kw motors, two sets of 7-inch props (with three blades per rotor), and one 2,200mah 70C battery pack. Consumers will have to provide their own controller and First-Person Goggles.
However, the drone will also come with DRL's drone simulator for free, giving aspiring pilots a chance to get a feel of how the Racer4 Street will perform in the real world. DRL recommends using the simulator first, as its drones can reach speeds of up to 90 miles per hour — twice that of most other consumer drones.
While definitely a niche product, DRL hopes that by making a consumer version of its racing drone that's easier to assemble, it can spawn more interest in the nascent sport.