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Intelligent Machines

Watch the World’s Fastest Drone Drag-Race into the Record Books

Technically, it lays claim to the “fastest ground speed by a battery-powered remote-controlled quadcopter.”

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?")

 

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