Forget package delivery. Drone owners have found a much more thrilling use for their radio-controlled flying machines: drone racing.
The hobby has soared in popularity over the last few months, with a rapid rise in the number of new tournaments across North America.
More than a hundred pilots converged in California last month for the United States’ first drone racing championship, and Canada is set to follow suit with a tourney in Collingwood on Friday.
Racing drones, unlike those flown by police, are small, weighing less than a kilogram, and can reach breakneck speeds — more than 100 km/h.
They’re controlled differently, too. Before a race starts, pilots don video goggles that let them see what the drone sees.
“The whole idea of putting on a set of goggles and flying this thing is like nothing else,” said Paul Dowling, the owner of Autobotix, a store that specializes in drone racing in Toronto.