Last weekend drone racing got its first big break on the college circuit, as the inaugural US College Drone Racing Championship took place at Purdue University, Indiana.
Supported by MultiGP and The Academy of Model Aeronautics, the 2017 Collegiate Drone Racing Champions featured participants from 27 colleges and universities, with 48 pilots in total. It’s hoped that the event will have laid the foundations for a collegiate series starting next year.
You can see footage from the day’s action below:
The pilots were all competing with racing drones built from scratch – a far cry from the likes of the Drone Racing League, which recently launched its latest Racer3 for its impending second season. Speaking of DRL, the pilot that led the winning team from Georgia Tech at the college championships, Nick Willard, has actually competed for the professional organization.
In total, Georgia Tech took home $15,000 in equipment and prizes for first place. University of California, Berkeley, came in second and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona, finished third. Purdue came fourth overall, so it wasn’t a bad day for the hosts.
Speaking to DroneLife, president of the Purdue University drone club said that “The purpose of the competition is to drive towards making collegiate drone racing more popular and to show the public how cool STEM and drone-related activities can be.”
Despite 20mph winds making for challenging racing conditions, the event went smoothly. “It was a fantastic event. It was a bit windy, but I think everyone had a good time. It was great for Purdue to host the first ever. Congratulations to Georgia Tech – they had a great day today.”
The event was also targeted toward spectators, with video goggles available allowing onlookers to tap into live racing, along with flight simulators and big screen live streams of the action.