Intel has teamed up Austria's Ars Electronica Center to set a new world record for the most drones to be airborne simultaneously. The display saw 100 unmanned aerial vehicles take flight in pre-programmed formation, offering onlookers an impressive light show synchronized to the sounds of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
The feat has been a few years in the making. The Ars Electronica Futurelab, a center for researching new forms of cyberart, set out in 2012 to program huge fleets of quadcopters to fly together in formation. The team found some initial success in September of that year lighting up the sky with 50 LED-equipped drones over the Danube river. A line of aerial art pieces then followed in locations around the world from Sweden to Australia, leading Intel to come knocking in 2014 Intel with an idea called Drone 100.
Intel's grand vision was to light up the night sky with a record-setting squadron of quadcopters in synchronized flight. On November 4, 2015, a crew of 15 people turned this into a reality, launching 100 drones over Ahrenlohe Airfield near Hamburg, Germany, with LEDs fitted to their body. Weighing around 700 grams (24.7 oz) apiece, the fleet carried out a choreographed routine across seven minutes, before forming a 250-meter wide (820 ft) Intel Logo for its grand finale.
A Guinness World Records judge was on site to verify the record, which carries the official title of the Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) airborne simultaneously. A video of the spectacle was then presented at CES, during Intel CEO Brian Krzani's keynote on the opening day.
Further to offering a quite spectacular light show, the achievement could have some significance in advancing drone technology given the potential of autonomous drone swarms in areas ranging from defense to construction to city maintenance and even bridge building.
"Together with Intel, we've opened a door, but what lies beyond it is something we can make out only vaguely today," says Horst Hörtner, director of the Ars Electronica Futurelab.
You can see the spectacular drone display in the video below.
Source: Ars Electronica