Intel Lights Up The Night Sky And Flies Coordinated 100 Drone Squadron Over U.S. Soil

drone 100
Who woulda thunk it? Drones are quickly rising in popularity and are used by everyone from kids to small businesses to multi-billion-dollar movie studios. One of those companies putting drones to good use is Intel, which previously gave us a taste of its Drone 100 program at CES 2016.

The original Drone 100 showcase took place near Hamburg, Germany, but this time around, Intel got clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow a single “pilot” to control multiple drones at once. With this power granted, Intel has brought Drone 100 to U.S. soil (Palm Springs), and the results were just as dramatic as what took place last year in Germany.

Ascending Technologies (which has been wholly absorbed by Intel) built the 100 drones that were used for Intel’s promo video. Each quadcopter drone has built-in LED lighting, which essentially turns each into a robotic firefly dancing about in the sky. The drones can be programmed to fly in formation to create patterns in the sky. Since the onboard lighting is necessary to easily identify the drones and provide color to the patterns and shapes created, these Drone 100 events take place at night.

“Our goal is to be able to do this over stadiums, to do this over events that have large populations,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. “We have visions of going from a hundred to a thousand over time. That’s really what I see in the future.”  

The event that took place in 2015 at the Ahrenlohe Airfield in Tornesch, Germany was put together by Intel and Ars Electronica Futurelab (the company that Intel commissioned to get the squadron of drones up in the air). Intel made it into the Guinness World Records, setting a record for “Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Airborne Simultaneously.”

Over the years, drones have dramatically come down in price while at the same time becoming easier to fly. That ease of use allows drones to get their operators in trouble and has led to drone registration in the United States.