Advertisement

Who's the best drone pilot in the world? Las Vegas championship challenge will award $50,000 prize

Who's the best drone pilot in the world? Las Vegas championship challenge will award $50,000 prize
Racing drones are put through their paces during a 2017 qualifying race at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky. The winning pilots will compete in this weekend's world championship in Las Vegas. (International Drone Racing Assn.)

The world's top 32 drone pilots will compete Saturday in Las Vegas for the world champion title in the International Drone Racing Assn.'s top challenge.

Semi-professionals wearing virtual reality headgear compete for a $50,000 cash prize in the Challengers Cup Final on Friday and Saturday at the South Point hotel-casino at 9777 S. Las Vegas Blvd.

Advertisement

Competitors qualified during 2017 races that began in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and concluded in Manila, the Philippines.

Visitors can buy tickets to watch for $20. You'll be admitted to Friday's practice runs and the competition on Saturday afternoon. The elimination round will get underway at 12:30 p.m. with the finals set for 3:20 p.m. Saturday.

A drone zips beneath an arch on a racecourse in Vilnuis, Lithunia, during a qualifying round for the Challenger's Cup Final on Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas.
A drone zips beneath an arch on a racecourse in Vilnuis, Lithunia, during a qualifying round for the Challenger's Cup Final on Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas. (International Drone Racing Assn.)

Unlike backyard enthusiasts, the competitors are fully immersed in technology as they steer their high-speed aircraft while wearing VR goggles that display live images from cameras mounted on the drones.

Race courses are designed to test the nimbleness of both the vehicles and their pilots.

While the drone races — there are roughly 100 of them a year in the U.S. — don't draw anything like the crowds at a football bowl game, the drone organization's website says it wants to expand the races as a spectator sport. It describes the activity as "the next evolution of motorsports."

Advertisement
Advertisement