Teenager wins first World Drone Prix in Dubai
Team Tornado X-Blades Banni UK won $250,000 at World Drone Prix
British teenager, Luke Bannister, piloted his team into first place at the World Drone Prix in Dubai, winning $250,000.
The 15-year-old and his team, the Tornado X-Blades Banni UK, walked away with the trophy, with Dubai Dronetek and VS Meshcheriakov winning first runner up and second runner up respectively.
"Honestly, the win is still sinking in. I really enjoyed the competition especially as I got the opportunity to make friends from various countries. I am definitely looking forward to coming back next year," said Bannister.
The competition took place at Skydive Dubai on March 11 and 12, where attendees witnessed over 150 teams compete in the pre-qualifier rounds where the top 32 teams remained to battle in elimination-style qualifiers. The outdoor track played host to the top four teams in the finals, testing speed, endurance and focus.
The drones raced for 12 laps, with the pilots sat in racing-style seats wearing goggles that enabled them to watch a live feed from a camera on their drones. They then had to overcome a series of obstacles while incurring the least number of penalties possible.
Saif Mohammed al-Suwaidi, director-general of the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority, said in a statement at the race: "It is not merely a flying game, but a sport that requires mental focus and accuracy to enable users to harmonize mental commands and hand movements to fly their drone."
The UAE has a commitment to drone technology and has already established the UAE Drones for Good Award. Furthermore, the World Future Sport Games were recently announced, which includes futuristic competitions, such as manned-drone racing, robotic soccer and wrestling.
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