Intel's Shooting Star drones to get star-spangled for 4th of July aerial light show
It's rapidly closing in on July 4, and for skies right across America that means fireworks. But there's one corner of the country that's ditching the traditional explosive pyrotechnics in favor of something a bit more modern. At Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, Independence Day will be celebrated with an Intel Shooting Star drone light show.
The hardware and software of Intel's Shooting Star system was developed specifically to offer a safer, quieter and cleaner alternative to fireworks, which produce smoke pollution, noise that frightens animals, and pose fire and injury risks. Having previously wowed Christmas crowds at Disney World and Winter Olympics attendees in South Korea, Intel will launch its LED-equipped drones to celebrate the July 4 holiday and Travis Air Force Base's 75th anniversary.
The show will see 500 Shooting Star drones perform a choreographed aerial routine to honor active military personnel, veterans and participants of the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). During the show, all 500 quadcopter drones will be controlled by a single drone pilot on one computer, with each drone measuring 384 x 384 x 93 mm (15 x 15 x 3.6 in) and featuring built-in LED lights that are capable of creating over 4 billion color combinations.
"The story of the Air Force is a story of innovation," says Col. John Klein, Travis Air Force Base installation commander. "With Travis in close proximity to Silicon Valley, the base strives to develop relationships and to play an active role in Northern California's innovation ecosystem. For our 75th anniversary and as a way of saying thank you for the unprecedented community support, we wanted to treat our friends and family to a special Independence Day celebration – Intel's vision to reimagine fireworks with cutting-edge drone technology was a natural fit for our airmen and audience."
The Shooting Star drone display will light up the skies over Travis Air Force Base at around 9 pm local time. For those not able to make the show, you can check out video of the rehearsal conducted last week below.