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First drone race in India to be held at IIT-G’NAGAR

One day of the event will be utilised to educate students from IIT about the various aspects of drones

As the country gets ready for its first drone racing competition in Gandhinagar on October 22 and 23, a number of drone pilots have enlisted themselves and are preparing ardently. Drone racing, which is a popular sport internationally, is finally arriving in India with the Indian Drone Racing League [IDRL]. Bhavesh Sangani, who has been associated with drone piloting or aero modelling as he calls it, for the last eight years, said that eight pilots will be participating from Bangalore. Sanghani who is a senior engineer at a consulting company in Bangalore is one of the two experts talking at a meet-up planned in the city on September 3, as a prelude to the IDRL.

Capt Gibbs (CEO of Centrale Drone, Centrale showing the new FPV Google.

"After the meet, we expect a few more people to join in for the IDRL," he said, adding the sport is becoming popular with each passing day. "We take safety measures to avoid densely populated areas as it could be dangerous, considering the speed at which the drones fly. As for our safety, we ensure that we do not fly overhead," says Mateen Baig, another drone enthusiast who will be addressing the audience at the meet-up. A self-taught drone enthusiast, he says, "Drone flying is such an experience that with the FPV goggles [FPV goggles or first person view goggles allow the pilot to see exactly what the airborne drone is seeing] on, you feel that you are flying. It is like an out of body experience." Mateen who developed a curiosity for drones, took to YouTube to learn all about them. "Flying drones is purely a recreational activity," says Bhavish who was smitten by the sport the first time he was introduced to it by a friend six years ago. "Flying a drone is a different experience altogether," he says.

Capt Gibbs (CEO of Centrale Drone, Centrale Testing the new DJI Phantom

The first drone racing league will be held on October 22 and 23 at IIT Gandhinagar campus. "The main reason for organising this event is to promote the innovative sport," says Karan Kamdar, founder of IDRL. Adding that the sport is extremely popular across the world and India has been lagging behind on this, Karan says the main intention is to legitimise drone activities and have a platform for drone enthusiasts from the country to compete among themselves. "Though the event is happening in Gujarat, we have participants from across the country, right from southern states to eastern states like Assam," he says.

One of the best racing drones for the beginners.

One day of the event will be utilised to educate students from IIT about the various aspects of drones. The IDRL programme which is not levying a participation fee this year, will provide a cash award for the winner, even though the specifics of the exact amount are not finalised yet. According to the programme, quadcopters ranging from 210 mm to 255 mm are acceptable and considered competitive. As a precaution, safety nets will be employed at the competition venue. "For now, it is decided that the race will be for three minutes. However, the number of laps has not been finalised," says Mateen.

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