Super Bowl Halftime Floating Lanterns Were Actually Illuminated Drones

The intricately choreographed routine using the drones had everyone captivated.

paper lanterns
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

The intricately choreographed routine using the drones had everyone captivated.

When Adam Levine of Maroon 5 still had most of his clothes on during the halftime show, before he ripped off his shirt, revealing a body covered in tattoos, football fans watched as he stood on a lighted circular stage singing his heart out. All around him were people holding onto brightly lit paper lanterns.

Suddenly, numerous lanterns took flight, filling the sky with beautiful light. But it turns out that those lanterns were actually drones.

They were choreographed into the halftime show to create a unifying message of “love” and “one.” Intel provided the 150 shooting star drones for the performance, which lit up twitter.

As Maroon 5 began performing their wildly popular song, “She Will Be Loved,” Intel’s computer system signaled the 150 drones and commanded them to float up and over the football field. Some of the people in the audience held onto the lanterns and provided a glowing orb around the musician while he sang.

According to Fierce Wireless Tech, this particular performance beat Intel’s previous world record set when it used 110 drones during an exhibition at CES in 2018.

Intel modified its shooting star drones for the Pepsi Super Bowl halftime show to replicate the image of peacefully floating lanterns. While this isn’t the first time drones have been used at the Super Bowl, it is the first time they were used live.

Lady Gaga incorporated drones into her 2017 halftime performance at the Super Bowl. Her drone footage was pre-recorded and broadcast during the show. The drones used during Maroon 5’s Super Bowl performance were tested several times in advance, said Anil Nanduri, Intel vice president and general manager of the Intel Drone Group.

“We are a technology company,” he told Fierce Wireless Tech. “Being able to provide the technology for the artists to use in their performance — it’s a passion, and that keeps us going.”

Because Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz stadium is enclosed, the drones had to fly a pre-programmed path without relying on GPS. So Intel built indoor location technology inside the dome in advance.

It seemed that fans loved the addition to the halftime performance.

“YES to floating lanterns spelling #LOVE,” one fan wrote.

“Falling in love with the floating lanterns!” another shared.

One Twitter user loved the combination of Adam Levine and floating lanterns.

“‘She Will Be Loved’ with floating lanterns? Adam Levine knows the way to my heart apparently,” the fan tweeted.