With the spectator-less sporting world navigating limited, COVID-adjusted game schedules, the world of simulated drone racing is scratching the spectating itch of thrill-seeking fans globally.
Most recently, IUDRO (International Universities Drone Racing Organization) launched a drone eSports platform in collaboration with LuGus Studios, a Belgium-based software developer.
The Liftoff-IUDRO Series will pit university students in a simulated drone gaming arena fueled by LuGus’ Liftoff gaming brand. So far, more than 150,000 gamers have downloaded Liftoff via streaming service Steam.
“We’re super excited to be entering the eSports scene with LuGus after weeks of conceptualizing and delivering the eSports Series software,” IUDRO CEO Alejandro Perez-Llabata said.
“For many years, FPV drone racing has been blurring the line between traditional sports and eSports,” LuGus Studios CEO Kevin Haelterman.
“In times of great social challenges, Liftoff helps blur that line even further, promoting the transition from the field to a safe, but equally exciting digital world. The same adrenaline rush and skill requirements are guaranteed.”
The inaugural event, the International Open, will launch Sept. 26-27, broadcasting live on Facebook, YouTube and Twitch. Other TBA events will follow.
Organizers say they’ll create a new track platform every two weeks. “Liftoff features realistic drone physics, recommended by top drone pilots in the world – executing up to 300 physics calculations per second.”
Liftoff is available on any Steam-capable device using the unique code “UniversityDroneRacing” in the Betas Tab.
IUDRO joins growing number of drone-racing leagues shifting to virtual arenas amid the pandemic. Earlier this year, the Drone Racing League concluded the 2020 FanDuel DRL SIM Racing Cup, pitting a dozen elite pilots in virtual replicas of high-speed, racing drones from their homes around the world.
In March, DRL unveiled DRL Academy, an innovative STEM program featuring online learning opportunities for students studying science, engineering, and unmanned aircraft technology.