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Jaguar Magazine 02/2017 – American English

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Das neue Jaguar Magazin präsentiert den neuen Jaguar E-PACE, blickt hinter die Kulissen der spektakulären Formel E und spricht mit Uhrengenie Jean-Claude Biver darüber, wie es ihm gelingt immer am Puls der Zeit zu bleiben. Lesen Sie rein in die neue Ausgabe THE JAGUAR 02.

Technology plays a

Technology plays a crucial role in any professional drone race. Some leagues impose limitations to frames and battery sizes, while others allow for pilots to optimize their drones as they see fit. Ultimately, however, it is the human pilots and their awareness, coordination skills and reaction times that mean the difference between triumph and failure SPEEDS CAN EXCEED 120MPH IN AN AVERAGE 400M SPRINT RACE RACE PHOTOGRAPHY: LKJDÄLKJDF KJLÄKJ ÖÄÖK ; DFÄÖLKJÄLKDJ ÖÄDFÖÄ (2) 32 THE JAGUAR

NEW TECH PHOTOGRAPHY: ANSGAR SOLLMANN, XBLADES MEDIA HOUSE lucrative sponsorship deals, TV rights packages and emerging megastars such as Kent. A convergence of technological advances has made all of this possible. A miniscule camera, mounted on the drone’s nose, allows the pilot to control the vehicle through virtual-reality-style goggles. Advances in lithium battery technology have increased the speed of the drones to those suited for professional competition (the size and power of the battery currently dictates the racing class into which a drone fits). In an average 400m sprint race, typically divided into four or five laps over two minutes, speeds can exceed 120mph. Some tournaments even have drag-racing events, where all of the battery’s energy can be expended in a single, cloud-tearing burst. A member of Kent’s team, NEXBLADES, holds the current record: 0-62 mph in 1.2 seconds, faster than, say, a Jaguar F-Type SVR. In 2016, the world’s best drone racers gathered in Dubai to race. More than 150 teams competed. A 15-year-old schoolboy from Somerset, England, Luke Bannister, took home the 0,000 first prize. “I had this fantastic sense of freedom, like being a bird on the wing, seeing the world from above,” Bannister told me of the race. “Nothing was hard. I became the aircraft.” Thanks to stories like Bannister’s, drone racing has begun to draw ever-larger crowds and ever more dedicated professionals. Last September, pilots raced along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and a crowd of more than 150,000 spectators gathered to watch. “I am a great believer the sport will go from strength to strength,” says Richard De Aragues, director of the 2011 documentary film TT3D: Closer to the Edge and founder of the NEXBLADES team, for whom Kent and Bannister now both race. De Aragues, who rather mournfully points out that his career as an award-winning documentary maker has taken a backseat to the sport in recent months, has managed to assemble arguably the strongest team of pilots in the world. “We have the top five ranked pilots in the world on our books,” he says. “We’ve won the French, Spanish, Dutch and Irish nationals, and our pilots have beaten most of the top pilots in rival leagues.” As with any nascent sport, numerous entrepreneurs are battling to dominate the field by establishing the definitive league. With an influx of money, the would-be custodians of drone racing are working hard to drive technological innovation. “This year we’re moving from 4S up into 5S and 6S class batteries,” says De Aragues. “This will result in a significant increase in power. That power might then be used to facilitate longer distance races, or into basic speed gains.” Broadcasters, for whom tracking these tiny, mosquito-like craft through 3D space is a major challenge, are also pushing drone-builders to use larger frames. “The bigger the quad the better illuminated it is, the more physical it becomes,” says De Aragues. “We’ve done tests with a 2 ft frame. A drone of that size running at full throttle sounds like a Black Hawk.” As drones increase in power and scale, the budgets involved increase with them. Still, De Aragues believes that drone racing is a democratic sport. “People can build a quad at a low price point,” he says. “Even in go-karting and motor racing that is not possible. The big feeder will be the micro-racing. You can buy a pack of four of these things and set up a race through your house. It allows kids to train with a dragonfly rather than a jet fighter plane.” Regardless of the specification of the model you’re flying, for world champion Bannister, the pilot requirements remain the same: “You need rapid hand-eye coordination, the ability to keep calm and completely focus when flying.” Drone racing may not yet offer a viable career path for a talented young pilot in the way that motorsport does, but the potential winnings for the top competitors are significant. “I know of a couple of people who are full-time in the US but it’s very hard to take that leap at the moment, so early in the sport,” says Kent. “I have a family, a young boy, to take that leap of faith is difficult. For some people, young guys perhaps just out of college, I think yes, it’s possible. Right now it’s too much of a risk for me. But that’s my goal. It’s like doing anything for a living that you love. It doesn’t feel like work.” Richard De Aragues (left) has managed to combine a career as a documentary filmmaker with his role as the founder of the NEXBLADES team THE JAGUAR 33

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