During the 2018 Olympics opening ceremony last week, Intel set a new world record with its Shooting Star drones, which formed different shapes in the night sky. Intel initially planned to release the drones during the event, but it was reportedly forced by organizers to prerecord the entire flight instead due to technical and safety concerns. The clip that was shown during the opening ceremony featured 1,218 unmanned aerial vehicles being released into the night sky, which then arranged themselves in different shapes, including that of a snowboarder and even the iconic Olympic rings.
According to the New York Times, event organizers apparently didn’t approve of Intel’s plans of releasing the drones during the opening ceremony, citing that the aerial show might affect the integrity of the event. Intel representatives also explained that they did not want to risk crashing the drones on any of the thousands of spectators and athletes present at the ceremony.
The decision prompted Intel to prerecord the event instead, which still wowed millions of spectators at the ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Each drone was fitted with LED lights capable of emitting different color combinations. Intel also painstakingly programmed each drone to follow a specific flight path, which in unison formed spectacular choreographic maneuvers that resulted in different shapes and animations visible from the ground.
Since the company debuted its customized drones a few years ago, it has been trying to outdo itself each year with even more amazing aerial feats. Intel first introduced the Shooting Star drones to the world in a spectacular seven-minute aerial show over the Ahrenlohe Airfield near Hamburg in 2015. With 100 drones being flown simultaneously, the company took the Guinness World Record for the most UAVs being flown simultaneously. In 2016, the company beat its own record by flying 500 redesigned drones. Intel’s Shooting Star drones were also seen doing their coordinated maneuvers at Lady Gaga’s halftime show and most recently at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. In a recently published press release, Intel revealed that it is committed to further developing its drone technology and that it will “push the limits” to provide better drone light shows in future events.