Ah yes — the sports stadium experience, our cultural heritage.
The anticipation of the players, the roar of the crowded and – wait – the buzz of the drone?
If Drone Parks Worldwide has its way, the cacophony of racing drones could someday be a huge part of the stadium-sports landscape. The Texas-based startup dreams of launching a network of experiential drone stadiums to provide a dynamic venue for safe and legal drone flight, while also promoting diversity and inclusivity in the UAV world.
“The long-term goal of Drone Parks Worldwide is to have stadium-scale facilities in every major city across the world where anyone can enter and fly a drone for any purpose,” said co-founder and COO Marjorie Ferrone in an exclusive DroneLife interview.
“‘Drone pilots are men.’ This is the stereotype that Drone Parks Worldwide is trying to change. The mission of Drone Parks is synonymous with inclusivity,” she added, pointing out that when she attends drone events, people often assume she was tagging along with her husband, co-founder and CEO Nick Madincea.
“Currently the consumer drone community is quite homogenous, in terms of gender,” Ferrone said. “It’s what I would imagine Amelia Earhart felt like flying airplanes when women were only recently allowed to vote.”
As a former student at the U.S. Naval Academy in 2011, Ferrone learned about the capabilities of military drones and she grew excited about the potentially benevolent uses of UAS. “I sat there and marveled at the power of drone technology and imagined how I could use them for positive change, rather than military applications,” she said.
If all goes according to plan, Drone Parks Worldwide will launch the first park in Waco and has already created a Kickstarter towards the goal.
Unlike a traditional sports stadium, where fans watch while players play, Drone Parks Worldwide envisions an interactive experience where experts can whip their souped-up machines around an FPV track and beginners can take workshops to gain experience.
Ferrone is committed to make that experience inclusive and open to everyone:
“We’re breaking down the barriers of prior experience that, until us, has been a prerequisite to buying, learning, and piloting a drone. For example, many current pilots have prior experience in the military, traditional aviation/RC, or gaming, all of which makes sense, but also all of which are male-dominated activities. This sets the scene for a male-dominated drone industry which we, as one of the trailblazing drone companies, will not accept.”
If the company’s proof-of-concept takes flight, Ferrone can look forward to the day when her lone female presence amongst a sea of dudes at any given drone race becomes a relic of history.
“The growth of Drone Parks Worldwide equals the growth of accessibility to drone technology for all types of people, Ferrone said. “For women specifically, it equals the breaking down of social and political barriers and gender barriers that prematurely and unfairly exclude them.”