Dubbed the biggest Drone Racing event in history, the Drone Grand Prix is set to start on 11 March in Dubai, UAE. The huge competition will be hosted by the crown prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The event has featured over 100 drone racing teams from all over the world - each of them having appeared at pre-qualifying events in Los Angeles, Seoul, Berlin and a number of cities across China. From those teams, there has been 'American Idol' style video-qualifying programmes and qualifying races to whittle them down to just 32 top contenders, ready for the final grand prix races taking place on 11 and 12 March.
The races mark the first event held by the World Organisation for Racing Drones, which hopes to make this Dubai race a fixture in an annual timetable of events. But racers won't just be hoping for that sweet, first-win glory. There are also prizes amounting to $1m across a number of categories.
The races will be held at Skydive Dubai, a large skydiving centre that will house drones flying around at over 100kmph. "We are extremely proud and thrilled to have all the international and local competitors race in Dubai, and are looking forward to introducing the public to a new sport that is open to participants of all ages, genders and abilities." said Omar Sultan Al Olama, Secretary-General of World Organisation for Racing Drones.
Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, told the Khaleej Times in the UAE, that the Drone Grand Prix is part of the UAE's futuristic, forward-thinking plans: "Dubai is no longer a city that dreams of the future. It is a city from the future and with the World Drone Prix will inspire the technology of the future."
The World Drone Grand Prix is not the only event of its kind, though it seems to be the largest. The Drone Racing League is an American organisation of a similar style, set to hold races later this year in Mexico City, Mexico, Detroit, Michigan, and Auckland, New Zealand.