(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Drone racing, in which humans wearing goggles pilot UAVs as fast as they can, is taking off. Even ESPN is broadcasting competitions.
Eno Umoh was particularly intrigued by the results of last year’s World Drone Prix in Dubai.
“A 15-year-old kid came out and won the entire race,” said Umoh, the cofounder of Baltimore drone photography and mapping company Global Air Media.
Having seen how working with drones can help introduce kids to STEAM through workshops like this one in West Baltimore last year, Umoh and the Global Air Media team started to plot their own recreational drone league for Baltimore.
In the coming months, they’ll be launching the Light City Drone Racing League. Umoh said it is designed to be a recreational league, and also teach skills that can put folks on a path to working in the drone industry. Participants will take a course to design and build drones, then race them on the weekend.
A new partnership with Open Works is helping the program get off the ground.
“They have all of the tools in place,” Umoh said. Formally, the two organizations are cofounding the league.
Global Air Media will be moving into the Station North makerspace, and utilize the space and equipment to build a drone-racing course at the site. The course is set to debut during Light City on April 1, and experienced drone pilots are invited.
Along with competition, the move is designed to provide an entry point into the drone industry. Global Air Media will also continue to teach workshops at the makerspace, and Open Works plans to designate May as “drone month.”
“Knowing that the world drone market is going to be $127 billion by 2020, there obviously are going to be opportunities,” Umoh said.