The two organizations will co-found a new innovation hub, DRL Labs, dedicated to drone technology R&D.
Fresh off a $100 million deal with blockchain company Algorand, the Drone Racing League announced another key partnership Thursday. They’re joining up with Draganfly, a drone solutions and systems development company.
The parties were introduced to one another through Steve Wozniak’s WozEd, which was working with the DRL on STEM initiatives. Soon after meeting, both sides recognized that they could assist each other in more ways than just science and technology education. The DRL and Draganfly’s discussions leading up to this latest announcement lasted about two months, according to Ari Mark, the Drone Racing League’s senior vice president and head of partnership development.
As part of the deal, the two companies will launch DRL Labs, an innovation hub dedicated to research and development of next-generation drone technology. The big-picture goal is to not only advance the sport of drone racing, but to aid other industries as well.
“Whether it is agriculture, medical, or search and rescue, we can learn how different technology can be applied and then we’ll have a larger use case than just our sport,” Mark told Boardroom. “I do believe that drones are having a moment in the culture. Drones are showing up in things like drone light shows at the Olympics, a fly-through video on Hard Knocks, feature films, music videos, and all these different areas. What I think Draganfly does is to bring it to all these other industries, they are coming up with all these different ways to apply drone technology.”
The new lab’s products will be tested in the DRL’s races. The league will also implement Draganfly’s vital intelligence platform to the 2021-22 DRL World Championship season. The technology enables the DRL to utilize any camera to monitor pilots’ in-race heart and respiratory rates.
The DRL will also release a multimedia series entitled “Why I Fly,” presented by Draganfly, that will spotlight pilots’ personal journeys into the world of drones and drone racing during the 2021-22 season.
Draganfly will be integrated into the 2021-22 DRL World Championship Season starting next Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at 8 p.m. EST on NBCSN and Twitter. The partnership will touch both real drone racing and esports at physical sports arenas and virtual Drone Racing League Simulator (DRL SIM) maps alike.
“Draganfly has been driving the future of drones since the pre-drone era, and the Drone Racing League is constantly driving the future of sports. We’re excited to partner with DRL to develop new drone technology that will disrupt drone racing competition and the fan experience — while leveraging our tech discoveries for the good of humanity,” Draganfly CEO Cameron Chell said in an official release.