Having spent a bit of time at the controls of a drone I can honestly say it’s one of the best radio controlled devices you can get your hands on. They’re fairly simple to operate, especially if you grew up around R/C cars or played video games. And the current generation has definitely spent their fair share of time with an Xbox or PlayStation controller in their hands. Which is why it shouldn’t come as a shock that there’s an actual drone racing league, and it’s steadily growing in popularity. The Federation of Drone Racing (FDR) recently made an announcement that they plan on bringing drone racing to the world’s stage this weekend at the Formula E New York City ePrix.
Last month we reported about the inaugural New York City ePrix and how it’s inching closer to becoming one of the FIA’s predominant events. And the FDR felt it was the perfect place to spread the word about drone racing so they set up an exhibition race between a Formula E car and a brand new drone by Titan Grand Prix (TGP) called the GFD1. But just like a Formula E isn’t your ordinary race car, the GFD1 isn’t your ordinary racing drone. Normally race drones are fairly small, roughly 250mm (just under 10 inches) when measured diagonally from motor to motor. However the GFD1 is massive, it’s approximately 1100mm which is just over 43 inches when measured the same way.
In case you haven’t done the math, that’s roughly three and a half feet we’re talking about here. Which makes perfect sense when you learn that GFD in the GFD1 name actually stands for “giant f**king drone.” It has a total of 8 propellers which apparently can lift and support up to 200lbs, if that’s how you wanted to use it. However, when it faces off against a Formula E car it won’t be doing any heavy lifting. Instead, it’ll be focused on one thing and one thing alone, speed. And there is no shortage of speed with this monster. During initial testing of the GFD1, pilots were able to push it to speeds as high as 110mph which is even more impressive when you consider the size of this thing.
Piloting the GFD1 will be Jordan Temkin and Zachry Thayer, both of which are former drone racing champions. And all that experience is going to come in handy when the GFD1 gets debuted and flown for the first time in public. They are quite confident the GFD1 will be a great matchup against the Formula E car even though it has an estimated top speed around 140mph. We know the GFD1 has been improved upon since those initial tests, but whether or not they managed to coax an additional 30mph out of it is unknown.
The head to head race will take place in a small 1/3 mile section of the Formula E course at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. It’ll be one lap that consists of a long straightaway into a u-turn and back into a straightaway so there won’t be a whole lot of turns involved. Which is a good thing for the drone pilots, because while it might have crazy acceleration and top speed, it doesn’t have brakes. So it’ll take some serious skill to get the GFD1 around turns, especially if it’s entering the turn at over 100mph.
The owners of Titan Grand Prix, Lee Baran, Adrian Taverner, Scott Phan, Joel Jackson, and Joe Herbert, seem to have the true racing spirit about the upcoming race. They were both confident and respectful when talking to reporters, “We are so happy to be working with FDR on this. The NYC ePrix is the perfect venue for introducing TGP and the GFD1 to the world. We have enormous respect for the Formula E organization. It’s almost a shame the GFD1 will crush this race so hard.”
This one of a kind heads up battle is scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 16th at approximately 2:30 pm. So if you happen to live in the area and want to see a glimpse into the future of racing, get over to the Formula E website to secure yourself tickets to what’s looking like will be an interesting race.
The Titan Grand Prix GFD1 drone, which is powerful enough to lift a 200lb man, will attempt to beat a FIA Formula E race car this Sunday in Brooklyn.
Nai-post ni The Drive noong Biyernes, Hulyo 14, 2017