Over the weekend, a teenager from England took first place at the inaugural World Drone Prix in Dubai, winning a quarter of a million dollars in the process, reports the Associated Press. Luke Bannister of Somerset, England led his team, the Tornado X-Blades Banni UK, to the top spot at the world’s largest drone race to date.
Bannister flew the drone by himself using a special pair of VR goggles that allowed him to see a live first-person feed of what his drone saw through a camera mounted on the device. The drones, four at a time, raced arounds a neon-lit track flying through hoops for 12 laps. Each drone was required to take at least one pit stop during the race so its crews could swap out batteries, the AP reports. The pilots themselves wore white, F1-style racing overalls.
More than 2,000 spectators attended the World Drone Prix, which saw over a million dollars in prize money up for grabs.
“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,” Saif Mohammed al-Suwaidi, the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority director-general, said in a statement.
As for that $250,000 cash prize, 15-year-old Bannister will be splitting it with the 43 team members of the Tornado X-Blades Banni UK.