Drone Racing League’s Photo of a Drone Sitting on a Podium.
Drone Racing League’s Photo of a Drone Sitting on a Podium.

Building a Virtual World – Drone Racing League

Image Credit: Drone Racing League.
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About This Episode

They’re fun, they’re fast, they’re drones. On this episode of StarTalk Sports Edition, Neil deGrasse Tyson and co-hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly are diving even further into the Drone Racing League (DRL). On a previous episode we spoke with Paul “Nurk” Nurkkala, the 2018 DRL Allianz World Champion, about what it takes to be a DRL pilot and world champion. On this episode, we’re talking with Founder and CEO Nicholas Horbaczewski about DRL’s past, present, and future.

You’ll learn how Nicholas got the idea to create the DRL. He tells us about the three main factors that played into the DRL gaining traction and taking off (literally). We discuss how he had to manage high expectations due to Star Wars. Find out the similarities between the DRL and Formula 1. Discover how DRL pilots practice and how the league finds new pilots by using their online simulator. Investigate how the rise of Esports contributed to the success of the DRL. 

Then, Marilyn Smith, PhD, Director of the Georgia Tech Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence and Professor at the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, joins us to explore the science behind the drones. Discover more about vertical flight. We explore the history of helicopters, and Neil wants us to know that Leonardo da Vinci wasn’t always right. Marilyn tells us about the process of creating the simulator for the DRL. 

In our final segment, Nicholas re-joins Neil, Chuck, and Gary to chat about the future of the DRL. What will the DRL look like in five years? Nicholas tells us how the pandemic boosted viewership due to lack of sports broadcasting. We ponder whether the disruption in the global sports environment will help people broaden their sports viewership. Lastly, you’ll learn how the DRL is recruiting and creating an entire audience. All that, plus, we discuss the benefits of a “punctuated viewing experience.” 

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

About the prints that flank Neil in this video:

“Black Swan” & “White Swan” limited edition serigraph prints by Coast Salish artist Jane Kwatleematt Marston. For more information about this artist and her work, visit Inuit Gallery of Vancouver.

In This Episode

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