Blink and you might actually miss the Drone Racing League’s new RacerX drone, which has just been clocked at a record speed of nearly 180 miles per hour.
The team behind the drone set the mark yesterday while performing a number of drag races along a 100-meter course in upstate New York. The aircraft, which weighs in at 1.75 pounds, recorded an average top speed of 163.5 miles per hour, which qualified as the “fastest ground speed by a battery-powered remote-controlled quadcopter.” Its fastest recorded speed was 179.3 miles per hour.
Even if you don’t see it coming, you can certainly hear it: its little rotors spin at up to 46,000 revolutions per minute, creating a high-pitched whine that’s, well, hard to ignore. Because of its diminutive size and short bursts of high-intensity flying, an earlier prototype even burst into flames as it hit its top speed, according to the team that built the drone.
Sadly, the Racer X won’t be the aircraft used in the Drone Racing League’s World Championship events. Instead, pilots will be using the Racer 3, which hits maximum speeds of around 90 miles per hour—but is, apparently, rather better on the turns than its breakneck sibling.
(Read more: "Is Drone Racing a Sport Yet?")
How AI is reinventing what computers are
Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.
These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems
They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.
A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click
Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.
Surgeons have successfully tested a pig’s kidney in a human patient
The test, in a brain-dead patient, was very short but represents a milestone in the long quest to use animal organs in human transplants.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.