Dubai is known for many things and now it can add the world champion drone competition to the list. On Friday and Saturday a grand competition was held to see who would grab the honour.
One hundred teams descended on the Gulf State to try to claim some of the million dollars in prize money. The completion on Saturday was whittled down to 32 teams.
Dubai constructed a challenging light filled course with hoops and sudden turns and climbs. The “pilot” wore special glasses and attempted to guide his craft over the course without crashing it. Cameras tracked the drones as they raced. Videos posted to FaceBook gave viewers a pilot’s eye view from cameras also attached to the tiny aircraft.
The support crew had to land their craft partway through the race to replace batteries.
At the end of the competition Team Tornado X-Blades Banni, from the UK was declared the winner. Their pilot, Luke Bannister, garnered $250 000 US for his team. The pilot is 15 years old.
Next year in December Dubai plans to hold the World Future Sports Games. It will feature among other futuristic challenges, swimming robots.
The eSports industry has blossomed as technology has improved. Last year eSports chalked up about $750 million in revenues. The majority from sponsors. For a non-gamer looking at a gaming website is a bewildering montage of news, new games, trading and more. There is money for gamers who are extremely good at what they do. Gosu Gamers site describes a competition this year – Intel Extreme Masters: Katowice 2016 -- at which US$500 000 prize money was offered. Tickets for this game fest are offered free in Poland, but for better seats and additional perks the price goes up. For the most expensive seating titled God Mode Pass, the cost was 4000 PLN or $1039 US.
The Two Way
Non-lethal weapons such as bean-bag guns, rubber bullets and tear gas canisters can all kill if they hit a vulnerable person. Tasers are considered non-lethal but many cases of death by taser have been documented. Many people have been killed by military and CIA drones, some on purpose and many by mistake and as ‘collateral damage’. The infamous video of people being murdered in Collateral Murder shows how easily and quickly leading edge technology can be misused.
The Daily Beast raises the question as to whether the proliferation of drones in N. Dakota is to ensure better citizen safety. They point out the increasing importance of the research and manufacture of unmanned aerial vehicles in the state.
Millions are being poured into the state in the building of Grand Sky an industrial/research park near the Grand Forks Air Force Base. The US pilots many of its overseas drone flights from the air force base. Reading the narrative on Grand Sky’s home pages indicates a particular interest in attracting the best to work on cutting edge development of UAVs.
In a state where the oil bust has gutted the economy, it can make those who would defend civil liberties suspect that the present enthusiasm for law enforcement drones may well be based on the influx of money expected by welcoming sky spies with open arms.
Legislative Assembly of North Dakota
The Daily Beast
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