PayPal Park in San Jose, California is set to serve as the site of the next public, live drone race.
The Drone Racing League announced today that it had launched a partnership with Google Cloud, which is a suite of cloud computing services that runs on the same infrastructure that Google uses internally such as Cloud SQL, BigQuery and Anthos. And among the biggest aspects of the partnership between DRL and Google Cloud is a real drone race, that anyone in the general public can come watch.
The Silicon Valley drone race will be held on Tuesday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m. PST at PayPal Park in San Jose, California. It’s not-coincidentally being held on the opening night of Google Cloud Next, the annual conference to promote Google Cloud.
While race attendees is free for conference attendees, the PayPal Park drone race is also open to the public, granted you have a ticket.
Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster here for $25 (though you can get tickets for $20 if you buy them as a four pack). That said, Google Cloud Next attendees and Google Developers can attend the race for free. And given that Next ’22 is free this year, it seems as though you could register for Next ’22 (note that you must be at least 18 years old to register), pick up your badge at the conference site and then get into DRL’s PayPal Park drone race for free. Of course, the official line is to purchase tickets at Ticketmaster, so — if you’re trying to save $25 — do this at your own risk.
Transforming the soccer arena into a video-game inspired aerial course, this tech-powered, immersive sports competition will make you feel like you’re flying inside a 90 MPH racing drone,” according to DRL. “This epic racing event is not to be missed and is the only California race of the season.”
PayPal Park is usually a soccer-specific stadium, home of Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes. But next month, it’ll transform into an immersive, neon-colored aerial course. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 11.
The Google Cloud Fly Cup Challenge
There’s a bonus aspect of the drone race for Next ’22 attendees: the opportunity to participate in what’s being called the Google Cloud Fly Cup Challenge. The Google Cloud Fly Cup Challenge is a competition for developers where they must use Google’s cloud platform in conjunction with DRL’s race data to predict race outcomes. The competition will launch today and run through the fall.
And the prize is pretty incredible: the winning developers will receive an expenses-paid trip to the season finale of the DRL 2022-23 World Championship.
“We look forward to collaborating with DRL through advanced AI/ML and data analytics capabilities that will allow the league to reimagine how they engage with and delight their millions of tech-savvy fans,” said Anil Jain, global managing director of media and entertainment industry solutions at Google Cloud.
Related read: 5 tips to master drone simulator racing
How the PayPal Park drone race plays into the broader DRL 2022-2023 season
The PayPal Park drone race kicks off the 2022–23 DRL Algorand World Championship Season, which is set to also race through locations around the U.S. including Texas and loanDepot Park,home to Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins, in Miami, Florida.
Throughout the season, 12 of the world’s best drone pilots will race high-speed drones through not just iconic sports arenas but also DRL SIM virtual race courses.
If you can’t make it to a live drone race, you can watch it online. It’ll air on NBC, YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook this fall. The PayPal Park drone race specifically is set to air on Nov. 19, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
And the Google Cloud partnership could be a key move in growing DRL’s fan base.
“DRL’s young, global “tech-setter” fans are more likely to be software developers, engineers, or work in key Information Technology positions than the general population,” according to a prepared statement from DRL.
But Google Cloud aside, DRL is already on a tear. It’s especially vibrant on TikTok, where the league
has 5 million followers.
Other measures to grow its fan base include the 2021 launch of a Drone Racing League mobile game that is free for download in the iOS and Android app stores. Also in 2021, the Drone Racing League launched its first-ever 5G DRL racing drone, which made it possible to live stream high-definition racing footage.
Other companies besides DRL are also increasing diving into drone racing. This summer, DJI launched an indoor, Cinewhoop-style drone called the DJI Avata.
Grab your DRL tickets for the PayPal Park drone race via Ticketmaster here.
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