Last year, Intel launched 100 drones for a synchronised light show, setting a world record in the process. This month the technology firm has smashed the record by five times, sending 500 flashing drones dancing in the night sky.
Beyond a one off spectacle, using fleets of drones to create light shows could pave the way for a new form of advertising – with brand names spelled out in hovering flashing lights. As part of the recent record-breaking attempt, the Silicon Valley tech giant used the drones to spell out its logo in lights in the night sky over Germany. The drones were coordinated with flight planning software, plotting the display and giving each drone its cue. Following the 500-strong display, the firm has launched its own display drone, the Intel Shooting Star. ‘With this drone, we will be able to demonstrate that drone light shows can redefine entertainment and create amazing new experiences in the night sky,’ said Anil Nanduri, Intel’s vice president of its New Technology Group.
Writing in a blog post, he explained that Intel has already obtained a waiver from the FAA, enabling them to use the drones for displays in the US. ‘[The] drone is designed with safety and creativity in mind with a super light-weight structure and virtually limitless color combinations,’ added Nanduri. Intel has also purchased MAVinchi, the German firm behind the advanced flight planning software. Used in combination, it could enable companies to program their designs using the software and launch an army of advertising drones to spell out their name in lights. The small quadcopters are lightweight and have encased propellers, to protect stray fingers from coming to any harm. At just 280 grams, the drones can stay in the air for up to 20 minutes and can even fly in the rain. Intel also claims ‘four billion colour combinations’ from the red, green, blue and white LED lights. Forget flash mobs in train stations, we could soon see flash billboards in the night sky, blinking out their message like fireflies before scattering into the night.