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The world’s fastest drone flies at almost 1/4 the speed of sound

Capable of reaching speeds of around 40 mph miles per hour, regular drones are not exactly dawdlers. But when you are dealing with specially designed racing drones, things are on another level — and the Drone Racing League has the Guinness World Record to prove it!

In a record set last week, the Drone Racing League achieved a new drone speed record of 163.5 mph. While we’ve seen some fast drones before, the Drone Racing League’s DRL RacerX is almost mind-bogglingly fast for a battery-powered remote quadcopter. To put it in perspective, it is not quite on a level with the world’s absolute fastest sports cars, but it is certainly going to outrun pretty much every vehicle you see on the road. Hey, one-fifth the speed of sound is not exactly bad!

“We’re thrilled to put our proprietary technology to the test, as we’re all about speed and pushing the limits of drone design here at DRL,” Nicholas Horbaczewski, Drone Racing League CEO and founder, said in a statement. “The record-setting RacerX represents the culmination of years of technological innovation by our team of world-class engineers, and we’re very excited to unveil the fastest racing drone on earth.”

World's Fastest Drone | Drone Racing League

The DRL RacerX was handbuilt by Ryan Gury, who serves as Director of Product for the Drone Racing League, and a team of dedicated engineers who feel a similar need for speed. Their lovingly crafted quadcopter speedster weighs just 800 grams and runs on a 42V powertrain and twin 1,300-mAh lithium-polymer batteries. According to its creators, earlier prototypes of the drone actually burst into flames when hitting the highest point of acceleration.

To set the Guinness World Record, the DRL RacerX had to fly back and forth across a measurement course of 328 feet, with the official speed record resulting from an average of the top speeds achieved during these various flights. The drone managed to reach a top speed of 179.6 mph, but due to the averaging process that determined how the record was recorded, this did not count as the final score. An official Guinness World Record adjudicator was on hand to oversee the successful record attempt.

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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