A new STEM education programme based around building and racing drones will be launched at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed
Drone racing is a rapidly growing sport, with the world’s first professional Drone Racing League (DRL) reaching 30 million spectators on TV and another 45 million online last year. This week, the DRL secured $20m (£16m) in funding from a fresh set of investors, including new Formula 1 owner, Liberty Media.
US racing drone manufacturer, Thrust UAV, will showcase its Riot 250R Pro racing drones at a special new area of the FoS, with pro pilots doing demo races and allowing visitors to the Festival to have a go themselves, with assistance from the professional operators.
Thrust UAV and its parent company, PCS Edventures, will use the Festival of Speed to launch STEMD (STEM Drone), a new education programme that it hopes to roll out to 7,000 sites worldwide, including schools across the UK.
As part of the programme, students will get to build and race their own drones – helping them with curriculum elements across the subjects of maths, engineering, electronics and physics.
The addition of drone racing alongside the Festival of Speed’s traditional two- and four-wheeled speed machines is part of the event’s focus this year on new and future technologies. A huge new installation, measuring 30m x 20m and called FoS Future Lab, will showcase cutting-edge technology from the worlds of automotive, aviation and beyond.
These will include Thrust UAV’s world-leading Riot 250 R Pro racing drone and RubiQ, a modular educational drone platform specifically designed for use by students.
Meanwhile, the drones will be seen in live action for the first time in the UK at Goodwood’s golf course, where visitors can even take the controls themselves.
Joe Egusquiza, Director of Business Operations at PCS Edventures and Thrust UAV, said: “Drone racing is like games consoles on steroids. It gets kids outdoors and away from the computer screen and it’s an activity that really suits every member of the family but still has that speed and thrill factor.
“Our education package will teach students how to build their drone from the ground up and then how to control it, how to hover, move and fly through gates. It will teach them real-world skills in a variety of STEM-focused areas. Ultimately, the kids who build these drones are the same kids who will make all the future tech in the Future Lab come to life.”
Saturday and weekend tickets are now sold out, with Thursday, Friday, and Sunday tickets selling fast. Hospitality packages are available throughout the weekend. To buy tickets or enquire about hospitality visit www.goodwood.com or call the Goodwood Ticket Office on 01243 755 055.