The sky above Singapore was lit up with 300 drones flying in formation…
This futuristic light show was organised by Intel for the National Day parade to celebrate Singapore's 52nd anniversary. The drones, which were lit up by LEDs, were coordinated to produce animated patterns in the sky, creating glimmering logos and images such as a map of Singapore.
A major event entrusted to Intel
The parade organisers decided to ask Intel to provide the fleet of drones. Anil Nanduri, Intel's global drone chief, attended in person to ensure that this important event went without a hitch.
The night before his departure, Nanduri told journalists from website Mashable that Intel's New Technology Group had worked hard to perfect its drone light show, called Shooting Star:
A fleet of 300 drones
"There's considerably more operational complexity in handling a 300-drone fleet, compared with 100 drones in a show," he affirmed. The drones fly very close to each other and must be piloted in such a way that the distance between them is kept constant. The system must therefore be accurate enough to enable one pilot to control all of the drones at the same time.
According to Nanduri, "It's like juggling balls in your hand […] You may be able to juggle three, but if you juggle nine, you may have to throw them higher and faster to get more time."
This was not the first time that Intel had put on such a show: they had already organised another performance with 300 lit-up drones for this year's Coachella festival. And last year the firm earned itself a place in the Guinness Book of World Records with a demonstration performed by a fleet of 500 drones in Germany.
A previous flight cancelled due to GPS failure
Last month, when rehearsing for the parade, Intel's fleet of drones was unable to take flight due to a GPS signal failure. Nanduri says the problem was out of Intel's hands, but this means that a similar situation could happen again. A GPS signal can be lost for various reasons, such as cloudy weather that disrupts communications between the base and the satellites.
Luckily, Intel's fleet did not lose its GPS signal on Wednesday evening, and the drone light show went smoothly, to the great delight of the Singaporean crowds.
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