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Innovation on the fly


When pilots with head mounted displays can still see and when drones fly at over 100 kilometers per hour, adrenaline is the order of the day. DHL makes it possible.

With their head mounted displays and remote control unit, drone pilots are looking rather futuristic. [Photo: DR1 Racing]

A flight along the facade of Bonn’s 162-meter high DHL-Tower – unthinkable? No, but rather a reality in the new challenge for drone pilots. The headquarters of the logistics global player is just one of six unusual event locations in the DHL Champions Series. For the top aerial drone race of the organizer DR1 Racing, DHL is not only the source of the name, but also the founding and logistics partner.

Founder and Partner

Five of the best teams compete in the races of this new sport. The competition combines the characteristics of a classic racing experience with innovative electric motor sport. DHL isn’t only connected to the racing series as its founder and source of its name. As an official logistics partner, the transport specialist makes the tournament possible: After all, it's all about realizing six races in three countries in just four weeks. DHL is transporting all of the DR1 equipment – from the obstacle course to the filming equipment – and is also handling customs clearance. "Our partnership with DR1 Racing not only gives us the opportunity to support event organizers and teams with our comprehensive logistics solutions. Like they are for DR1 Racing, drones and electromobility are key technologies for us," says Dirk Ude, Head of Global DHL Advertising.

One lap around the Post-Tower with the airfoil of DR1 Racing-Champion Shaun Taylor:

Drones as a logistics option

Dirk Ude, Head of Global DHL Advertising [Photo: DHL]
Dirk Ude, Head of Global DHL Advertising [Photo: DHL]

Similar to the interplay between racing and the automotive industry, DHL expects further technological stimuli from its involvement in drone sports. The logistics expert already has a leading position in the development of small aircraft. With the “Paketkopter” for example, they’re testing delivery in demanding areas, such as in the Bavarian Alps or on the Northern German islands. In addition, DHL uses drones in Mexico and Brazil to monitor facilities to prevent theft and damage. Another field of application for the remote-controlled aircraft is the transport of relief supplies after natural disasters.

Commitment to electric mobility

The partnership with DR1 Racing further expands the Group's position in electromobility. For example, the logistics giant is also a partner of the Formula E racing series and manufacturer, user as well as seller of an e-van marque, the StreetScooter. "E-mobility and CO2-free vehicle concepts are important building blocks in achieving our goal of reducing all logistics-related emissions to zero by 2050," emphasizes Ude.

DHL Champions Series - the rules
The DHL Champions Series is a custom team vs. team format:


  • In each heat two pilots from a team race against another two pilots from an opposing team.
  • Each pilot is awarded points based on their finishing position.
  • During each heat pilots are required to complete four laps while performing one pit stop.
  • Pilots that miss a designated air gate receive a "DQ" (Disqualified) for the heat.
  • Pilots that don't finish the required number of laps receive zero points for the heat.
  • Prop Size: Up to 6''
  • Battery Size: up to 6s
  • 16 RGB LED's required

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