KUSA - A Colorado start-up company called Titan Grand Prix hopes to launch a professional drone racing league.
"I started to realize the problems sort of arising with drone racing and why it wasn't working out for the organizers at the time, and essentially that was because drones are tiny and you can't see them going really fast," said Joe Herbert, co-owner of Titan Grand Prix. "So we said hey let's make these things really big, like the size of a race car, and you've got yourself a race to watch."
Herbert is working alongside two local drone racing champions - Drone Racing League champion Jordan Temkin, of Fort Collins, and 2016 Drone Nationals champion Zach Thayer, also of Fort Collins.
"Colorado is currently playing an integral part in that because we have some of the best pilots in the world that live right here," Herbert said.
Over the weekend, they debuted the giant drone they developed, GFD2, at the Formula E ePrix racing event in Brooklyn, New York.
The Formula E ePrix racing event is a new electric street car racing series. The weekend event was the first-ever in the new racing series.
Herbert says their drone didn't disappoint.
The aircraft, which is powerful enough to carry a 200 pound person, beat the car on the track.
Unfortunately, the pilot had to crash it shortly after crossing the finish line.
"Safety protocol was if anything at all feels weird with the drone, if it acts up in any way whatsoever, was to immediately crash it right into the ground because that is unfortunately the safest thing you can do," said Herbert.
He says the pilot initiated a hard-braking maneuver at the end of the short track which overwhelmed the flight computer.
Herbert added,"It's safest to crash the drone because currently racing drones have no redundancy or other safety systems in place. We want to get the drone on the ground as fast as possible because, as you can see from the video, it moves very quickly and we can't waste any time trying to recover with a crowd around."
Titan Grand Prix has been building and testing giant drones since the start of the year.
Now, they are working on developing a faster, safer, and more reliable giant drone system, they are calling GFD2.0.
They are also trying to create partnerships within the drone industry in hopes of launching a professional drone racing series in 2018.
"Between world-class talent pilots and Titan class being originated here we really are at the forefront of drone racing," Herbert said. "We really want drone racing to be a legitimate live event that we can draw grandstands full of spectators there to watch."
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