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“The World’s Most Realistic Drone Flight Simulator”—A Conversation with Ryan Gury, DRL’s Head of Product, about Their Brand New Simulator

BY Zacc Dukowitz
22 November 2017

Last week the Drone Racing League (DRL) launched a brand new simulator—the DRL Simulator—and announced the launch of tryouts for the 2018 DRL Allianz World Championship Season.

Tryouts are highly competitive this year, and hold the promise of a $75,000 professional contract from DRL for the winner. Aspiring pilots can download the DRL Simulator and enter the tryouts today.

The competition will conclude on January 15, followed by a live eSport tournament to be streamed globally.

Download the SIM. Train. Become a Real DRL Pilot | Drone Racing League

The Drone Racing League already had a great simulator before the release of this new one, so we wanted to talk to DRL’s Head of Product Ryan Gury to learn more about what makes their brand new simulator stand out.

Read on to hear what Ryan had to say.

Begin Interview

UAV Coach: What is unique about the new DRL Simulator, and how does it mimic real flying?

Ryan Gury: The DRL Simulator is the world’s most realistic drone flight and racing simulator.

The sim teaches aspiring pilots how to fly, and gives DRL fans the opportunity to race the same courses featured in the 2016 and 2017 DRL Allianz World Championship seasons, broadcast on ESPN, Sky, Prosiebien, FOX Sports Asia, OSN and Disney XD in more than 75 countries across the globe.

The sim offers an extensive tutorial with 50 different missions, such as throttle, pitch, and yaw, so rookies can learn basic flying skills online without spending hundreds of dollars on crashing real drones during practice.

Once in-game, pilots select perfect replicas of DRL drones to compete with. They can choose from the DRL Nikko Air toy drone that you can buy at Target, Amazon, Toys R Us, or Walmart, the DRL Racer3, flown by elite pilots in the 2017 Season, or the DRL RacerX, the Guinness World Record-setting fastest racing drone on the planet, or customize their own by upgrading motors and transforming the quadcopter’s skin.

Pilots can then race head-to-head on real DRL maps against anyone in the world and participate in the 2018 Swatch DRL Tryouts, aimed at finding the next great drone pilot.

The top 24 pilots on the leaderboard will be invited to compete in a live eSports-style tournament, streamed globally on February 3, 2018. The winner will receive a spot in the 2018 DRL Allianz World Championship Season and a $75,000 professional contract.

drl-fpv-drone-racing

UAV Coach: How does DRL distinguish its new simulator as compared with the new AR simulators from DroneBase and Epson?

Ryan Gury: DroneBase’s Aircraft simulator and Epson’s new AR simulator are technically not flight simulators. Rather, they are light augmented reality experiences.

Unlike these AR platforms, the DRL Simulator is a true-to-life drone racing simulator. It features the exact same DRL maps and perfectly matched engineering of the DRL drones you’ve seen on TV, as well as an extensive tutorial to help you learn how to fly.

Epson, on the other hand, does not simulate FPV flight, use realistic physics, or teach users how to fly, and Aircraft is more like Minecraft for drones in the sky.

UAV Coach: What technical challenges were overcome in building this simulator, and what makes it stand out as compared with past versions of DRL’s racing simulator?

Ryan Gury: The new DRL Simulator is a complete overhaul from our previous version.

It has incredible new features, including:

  • An in-depth tutorial to help you master any drone racing skill, and understand how well you’re flying through honest, real-time feedback
  • All new race maps that are exact replicas from our 2017 Season
  • New drones that perfectly match the engineering of our real DRL drones (from their weight to the size of their props)
  • Multiplayer capabilities so you can race against your friends around the world
  • Online replays that enable you to watch the runs and races of other players, including top DRL pilots, so you can follow their paths and maneuvers for personal inspiration 

As we completely upgraded the physics of the platform to make our users’ digital flying experience close to real-life drone racing, we had to innovate the simulator technology and overcome technical challenges along the way.

UAV Coach: It’s no coincidence that this new simulator is being rolled out just as tryouts for 2018 are announced. Tell us a little about DRL’s perspective on how simulators are connected to real life racing.

Ryan Gury: As we’re trying to introduce drone racing to the world and broaden the accessibility of the sport of the future, we built the DRL Simulator to serve as the ultimate starting point to drone racing.

The sim completely levels the playing field for the next wave of hopeful pilots, and can transform an 18+ year old gamer into a professional pilot overnight, regardless of their gender, nationality, physical ability, or any dimension beyond age.

UAV Coach: We know it’s early, but is there anything you can tell us about what to expect in the 2018 season?

Ryan Gury: We’re incredibly excited for our 2018 Season, as it will feature even more stunning race courses around the world, an incredible new level of talent, and the continued innovation of drone racing technology.

About the DRL Simulator

Players can use the new DRL Simulator to learn how to fly a racing drone, compete against five other players at a time, and select digitized versions of zooming DRL drone models.

Here Are Some of the Drones Available in the Simulator

  • DRL Racer3—The official 90 MPH pro-racing drone, flown by professional pilots throughout the 2017 Season and designed and hand-built by DRL’s expert engineers
  • DRL RacerX—The fastest racing drone on the planet, which recently set the Guinness World Record™ title for the Fastest ground speed by a battery-powered remote-controlled quadcopter, achieving a top speed of 179.6 MPH
  • DRL Nikko Air—The ultimate entry racing drone for aspiring pilots who want to learn how to fly

drl-drone-racing-fpv

DRL Simulator Specs

  • OS: Windows 8×64 or greater
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4460 (2.70 GHz) or better
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 (2GB) or better
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • Controller types: For best experience a controller or radio controller are needed; a complete list can be found here.

Want to take part in the 2018 tryouts, or just try your hand at FPV racing? Download the DRL simulator and get flying now

Want to learn more about FPV racing? Make sure to check out our free guide to FPV systems.

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