Thursday, the Drone Racing League set the Guinness World Record for fastest drone, or the category of "fastest ground speed by a battery-powered remote-controlled quadcopter."
Called the DRL Racer X, the drone hit 179.6 mph.
The test was done in a field outside of New York City - with an official Guinness World Records adjudicator on hand to verify the speed. The drone was clocked flying back and forth across a 100-meter-long field - with the official record being the average of the top speed from each trial. So the official world record ended up being 163.5 mph.
There was no prior record for this category - but Guinness mandated that the minimum speed requirement would need to be 128 mph in order to be included in the record book.
The drone used to set the record isn't the same one used in races. The drone used in the league's races is called the Racer3, and has a top speed of 85 mph. However, this prototype RacerX is built on the same core platform as the Racer3, meaning one day the startup may be able to mass-produce a drone as fast as the Racer X that can be reliably used in official races.
But for now, the prototype drone (which has propellers that spin at 46,000 rpm) was just built to break the record and show off the future potential of DRL drones. Case in point - during one of the trials a prototype RacerX set on fire while hitting the highest point of acceleration due to the batteries overheating, something that obviously can't happen during real races.
Drone Racing League recently raised a $20M Series B from TV broadcasting network Sky and Liberty Media Corporation (which owns Formula 1), and will kick off its next season on July 20.