Drone racing sells robot soul to Mammon with launch of racing league

Overpaid creative team has coined the Ronseal name of 'Drone Racing League'

3D Robotics drone in Richard Branson's house

The hitherto sexy underground world of drone racing is to follow in the footsteps of most spectator sports by becoming a commercialised advertisement platform, as New Yorkers prepare to receive their very own Drone Racing League™.

A New York startup, Drone Racing League, Inc. filed its application to trademark Drone Racing League™ on 6 May this year.

RSE Ventures, a VC body which was co-founded by Stephen Ross – real estate mogul and owner of the Miami Dolphins NFL franchise – will be offering $1m up to the startup's first round of funding, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The company plans its first public race for later this year, and its business model isn't too different from that of most sporting events. It intends to generate revenue through sponsorships, media licences and ticket sales.

The league will feature much the same tech as is flung about by hobbyists and in much the same areas – though the grimy cyberpunk mystique of the sport may be somewhat hampered by the requirement for legal occupation of those locations, which have included such post-industrial dead zones as abandoned factories and disused sewerage tunnels.

The WSJ reports that the Drone Racing League™ held a private race inside the abandoned Glenwood Power Plant in Yonkers earlier this summer: "Six pilots standing on the power plant floor controlled their drones as they flew down the warehouse's hallways and through open windows."

Races will feature between five and seven pilots, who it is intended will wear virtual-reality goggles to simulate occupying the "cockpit" of their hobby copters.

"It’s a completely immersive experience that’ll make you feel like you’re flying," the Drone Racing League™ founder Nick Horbaczewski told the WSJ.

Horbaczewski founded Drone Racing League, Inc. after schlepping as chief revenue officer at Tough Mudder, an amusingly branded 'leccy-lubed obstacle course and racing event held across the world.

"I felt [drone racing] could be a sport that resonated with people because it touches on the heritage of racing, but also brings in the benefits of new technology," he told the WSJ.

The Register enthusiastically awaits the weaponising of these hobby drones and the launch of a league which allows them to attack each other, a la Mario Kart, as shown by fake Russian gun-nut YouTuber FPSRussia. ®

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