The competition saw more than 26 teams participating with their nano drones, weighing less than 250g. Ritvik Suneel Nesargi, 20, who stood first, said this race was the best he had been too. “It was the first night race. And the arena had ample space and manoeuvering room. The LED lights marking the laps made it look spectacular,” said Nesargi.
The drones were custom-built by the competing pilots. Each lap saw three pilots being pitted against each other. There were qualifying laps, followed by semi-finals and finals. All the drones had a camera fitted in front for transmitting positions to the VR headsets of the pilots, who manoeuvre movements with a joystick.
Nesargi, who won a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, belongs to Pune and is currently pursuing an internship with Siemens, after an engineering degree in electronics and telecommunications.
“I’ve been racing drones for the past two years. I buy the parts from stores in Mumbai and then assemble them. At any given race, I have three or four drones with me, as there’s the likelihood of one crashing or malfunctioning,” said Nesargi. At the race on Friday, there were quite a few crashes in the qualifying rounds itself.
“Normally, drones can cost between Rs 12,000 and 18,000, depending on the quality. Sometimes, we buy from Hong Kong, but there will be a two-week delay due to shipping,” said Nesargi, who uses the nickname Ouroborus while flying.
Aaradhya Kulshrestha (nicknamed SKY Pirates), 15, from Bengaluru, stood second and won Rs 50,000. Bengaluru’s Pravesh TM, came third and won a cash prize of Rs 25,000 with drone BLJ.
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