If you want to be a Formula One driver, you need to practise. But buying an F1 car is an expensive exercise, meaning the career is out of reach for many folks. Not so with drone racing, though the kit is still kinda pricy. But if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at flying a race-spec drone, now’s your chance. The Drone Racing League is offering an at-home version of its DRL Racer4 drone, the unit being raced in this season’s fixtures.
It is called the DRL Racer4 Street, because of course it is. It can hit its top speed of 145km/h in under a second which, if you’re using an FPV headset, is a recipe for a bit of a chunder. But at least the drone has been reconfigured for folks who don’t have a pit crew. The DRL Racer4 Street can be maintained using off-the-shelf components. Whether those components are on South African shelves is another matter.
Hopefully, they are. Initially, the high-speed drones were limited to the States, the campaign has since opted to ship anywhere in the world. Know where South Africa is? That’s right, kids… somewhere in the world. So if you want one…
If you’re keen on getting your high-speed drone on, the early-bird pricing is $600 (R9,250) — that’ll get you the base drone, without any extras. It’s not insubstantial, though. The setup consists of four BrotherHobby 2510 1250kV motors, two sets of HQ PC 7x4x3 props, and a 2,200mAh battery. Plus the F4 flight controller, the low-polygon canopy, and a bunch of LEDs. Basically, it’s the same spec as the racing drone.
The next step up ($828 – R12,720) adds a Team Blacksheep Tango remote control system, with higher reward tiers adding more drones. And, honestly, if you’re just learning to use a race-spec drone, you’re probably going to kill a few. It goes at just shy of 150km/h and your reflexes probably need to be improved. Just sayin’.
If you want a DRL Racer4 Street drone of your very own, you’ll have to back it. The Kickstarter campaign is looking for $350,000 and is standing just shy of $75,000 at the moment. There are still 51 days for that funding target to be reached, so it looks as though folks will be getting their drones. Unless, you know, nobody else backs it between now and about 5 October 2019. It’s expected to ship by April 2020.