Drone racing just got some heavy backing.
RSE Ventures, the venture-capital firm co-founded by developer and Miami Dolphins majority owner Stephen Ross, is investing $1 million to the first round of funding for the Drone Racing League.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Drone Racing League, a New York startup, is planning its first public race later this year and intends to funnel in more capital via ticket sales, sponsorships and media. The league is aiming to target video game players, techies, and hobbyists alike to join in the competition.
Most likely, the league will use the "250 Class" of drones, which run $300 to $500 and able to reach speeds of 70 miles per hour. The Drone Racing League already had a private trial race inside an abandoned power plant in Yonkers, NY.
That trial had six pilots, navigating their drones through the plant's open windows and hallways. For the first public race, the league will have its participants wear virtual-reality glasses, simulating what it feels like for a pilot in a cockpit.
"It's a completely immersive experience that'll make you feel like you're flying," Drone Racing League founder Nick Horbaczewski told the Wall Street Journal.
He added: "I felt [drone racing] could be a sport that resonated with people because it touches on the heritage of racing, but also brings in the benefits of new technology."
Earlier this summer, the U.S. National Drone Racing Championships were held over two days at Bonney Field outdoors in Sacramento.
Let's see if Ross's backing opens the doors for more heavyweight investors to join in.