The first international drone race for Japan took place in Senboku, Japan, in the Akita prefecture. The Drone Impact Challenge Asia Cup 2016 is the most prevalent event to take place within the borders of Japan since their first full-scale domestic competition held in Katori, Chiba prefecture. 50 pilots participated from seven different Asian countries, including Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and China.
There were six separate events for competition, including the master class event, where 30 pilots took three laps through the 600-meter-long course. Several Japanese participants made it through to the semifinals, but the finalists came from China, South Korea, and Indonesia. Kim Hyeong Seob, the 39-year-old South Korean winner of the race had this to say about things:
“The course near Lake Tazawa was hard as it featured many ups and downs. I cannot drop my guard as Japan has many excellent pilots.”
Senboku’s administrative area has been designated by the national government as a special deregulated zone for regional vitalization, which means that it is a lot easier to set up neat events like this drone race to help bring attention and industry to the region. Mayor Mitsuhiro Kadowaki used the deregulated area to host the event in a hope to springboard the city to serve as a hub for the drone industry. They had originally planned on flying five drones at the same time during the final but ended up being limited to three due to the frequency interferences.
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