Australia’s Rudi Browning has been crowned the overall champion at the World Drone Racing Championships in the Chinese city of Shenzhen.
- The teenager has received a US$24,000 cheque as a prize
- The championship was watched by more than 10,000 people
- Australia’s team also won the gold as the best overall team
The 15-year-old beat over 127 other competitors of all ages from across the world to clinch the title as the four-day championship came to a close on Sunday.
Event organisers the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), also known as the World Air Sports Federation, said Browning will take home a US$24,000 ($33,350) winner’s cheque, along with his gold medal.
Browning took out the final in front of more than 10,000 drone-mad fans at the Shenzhen Universiade Centre Stadium, according to Chinese state media agency Xinhua.
“I dreamed of this, and it is incredible that it has come true. I couldn’t be happier,” Browning said after his victory.
“I’m still shaking actually.”
Australia also took out the team title, beating Sweden and South Korea who received silver and bronze medals respectively.
“I’m very proud of the boys,” Australia’s team manager David Crepaldi said.
The Australian team at the podium at the World Drone Racing Championships 2018. (FAI: Marcus King)
“The team pulled together and everyone played their part.”
Wanraya Wannapong, an 11-year-old racer from Thailand, took out the top women’s prize at the event, competing against 13 other women.
“I loved this track a lot. I liked flying it at night, it was a lot of fun,” she said after her win.
A world record for drone speed was also broken at this year’s championships. (Supplied: FAI/Marcus King)
Susanne Schodel, secretary general of the FAI, said the championship was a resounding success and showcased the best that drone racing has to offer.
Drones have become extremely popular worldwide, with estimates that in Australia alone there are up to 150,000.
How does a drone race work?
The course in Shenzhen was lit up with 7,000 metres of LED lights. (Supplied: FAI/Marcus King)
In a drone race, four pilots weave through gates and past obstacles.
Each pilot wears virtual reality goggles linked to the camera on board their drone.
In this year’s competition, pilots had to navigate a stunning 650-metre course designed in the shape of a Chinese knot.
Rudi Browning wears virtual reality goggles linked to the camera on his drone. (FAI: Marcus King)
At night, the course was lit up with 7,000 metres of LED lights, creating an exciting course to match the futuristic sport.
Shenzhen, the host of this year’s championships, is home to drone super power DJI, which commands over 70 per cent of the worldwide drone market, according to drone industry research specialists Skylogic Research.
Alongside the racing, some pilots also attempted to crack the world record for speed over 100 metres.
Beating out 62 other pilots, Switzerland’s Timothy Trowbridge hit an average speed of 114.2382 kilometres per hour to claim the record and the accompanying $US3,000 ($4,170) prize.