This past week, the vastness of the Las Vegas desert played host to a drone rodeo. If you think it sounds crazy, well it is, but it’s also fantastic to watch in person.
It was the third annual CES Drone Rodeo, and it played host to a Draco drone that can hit an impressive 100 miles an hour right out of the box. It costs $499 and is constructed of modular parts, making it easily replaceable in case you crash.
This isn’t the last high speed drone race we will see. ESPN recently brokered a deal with the International Drone Racing Association to televise this burgeoning sport on live television. It’s a multi-million dollar industry and its’ prompting many to drop out of college and ditch their full-time jobs in order to pursue full-time racing as a career.
These races are short, since battery life is at a premium. At this level, the drones typically die after about three to four minutes, so there’s a great deal of strategy involved in order to maximize efficiency.
The Draco product comes in a package containing the drone, an FPV visor, controller, and other tools to get racers off the ground right away, all packed together in a backpack.
Although there are still a large segment of drone lovers who enjoy building their product essentially from scratch, Draco and other manufacturers are anticipating that drones will become more widespread to include less tech savvy people. Thus, the out-of-the-box model is expected to grow in 2017.
Increased accessibility to speed also equates to more potential dangers for drone operators, especially those who aren’t exactly experts. AKA, 100 miles per hour is really, really fast. But hopefully the high price points, bottoming out at $550 per unit, will act as a deterrent to the more casual and reckless users among us.
The Draco drone is on the cheaper side of drones. The Rogue brand will cost you $1,000 and up, the Walkera F210 3D will cost you $600, at the Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Drone commands an $899 list price. For those looking to get really serious, there’s the Walkera QR X800 Brushless motor FPV GPS Drone RC Quadcopter RTF helicopter (that’s a mouthful) for $2,999.99.