Australian wins first US drone-racing contest

New York, July 20 (IANS) An Australian was declared the winner of the first US national drone-racing competition held during the California State Fair last week.

The competition was held on Thursday. Chad Nowak of Brisbane, Australia, won all three events at the competition. He won the individual time trial, was on the winning team time trial squad, and won the freestyle trick event, Quartz reported.

The race involved first-person view (FPV) drones – the small, custom-built drones with cameras attached to them that broadcast video feeds back to specially-designed goggles that allow pilots to see what the drones see.

These drones can hit speeds of more than 100 kilometre per hour (kmph)

One of the motive of the competition was to bring together racers, enthusiasts, vendors and manufacturers from across the world to forge connections as the sport of drone racing grows.

“For the inaugural US race, we want to accelerate the spirit of international competition and camaraderie so please come race with us. It will most likely be the only time that you can race as a non-resident or citizen,” a release on the Drone Nationals’ website read.

Around 120 racers competed in the time trials and seeded races, while the freestyle event saw smaller participation. Some racers struggled to get their drones into the air; others weren’t able to get reliable video footage back to their goggles.

Nowak put his win down to the fact that he had a reliable video feed throughout the competition. Nowak had only been racing FPV drones for about a year prior to the event, but had been piloting other radio-controlled devices for about a decade.

Nowak was quoted as saying that if he could find a way to get back — and the organisers let a non-American back in next year — he would return to defend his title.

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