Dubai's World Drone Prix is now a thing

Formula 1 for drones starts this weekend and there's a $1m prize up for grabs.

Meryl D'Souza March 9, 2016

We told you UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) were going to start a revolution, and look where we are. They're racing McLaren supercars for goodness' sake. 

Sure, we had to navigate the treacherous waters of drones becoming an invasion to privacy, but we've also found something good for them to do. 

The UAE has been fascinated with drones ever since they hit the market. The annual $1 million prize at the UAE Drones for Good competition is a testament to that. But now they’re using drones to appeal to your competitive side. 

Reinforcing its status as the city of the future, Dubai is kick-starting the inaugural World Drone Prix. Yes, that’s a thing. And that’s not all, the winner will walk away with a mind-boggling $1 million. Ah! Finally got your attention, I see.

The World Drone Prix is the biggest race of its kind. We can’t call it the first because there’s FPV Racing and Drone Racing League that are trying to do turn this burgeoning hobby into a sport in the US as well.

How does it work?

Pilots must guide their drones through an obstacle course while accruing the least number of penalties, making at least one pit stop and making at least one trip down the joker lane.

If you couldn’t tell by that drone vs. car advert already, these drones aren’t your average UAV. They’re custom-made and clock speeds of 100km/h. There’s no restriction on the competitors for the type of components they use for making their drones.  

This Friday, 32 of the best drones will duel it out for a spot in the top 16. The following day, the 16 will race and eight will advance to two semi-finals of which four will advance to the final.

Here’s what the racetrack looks like:

Who can participate?

Considering the prize, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s only for professionals, but you’d be wrong. Although registrations are closed for this year’s event, so come back next year.

You can’t go Han Solo

If you think that controlling a UAV meant you could race, win and keep the money all to yourself, then think again. You’ll need a team to get you to that prize.

The World Drone Prix Dubai 2016 takes place March 11 and 12 at Skydive Dubai. For more visit