Intel CEO Brian Krzanich opened the 2016 CES technology trade show in Las Vegas with a keynote that set the drone world on fire. The company showcased its cutting-edge drone technology, demoing its new obstacle-aware consumer drone and showing footage of its world record-setting drone swarm. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Intel’s spectacular 100-drone flight has earned the company a new world record title for Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) airborne simultaneously.
Intel may have mentioned the world record drone swarm for the first time during its recent keynote, but the actual flight took place last year at Flugplatz Ahrenlohe, Tornesch, Germany. Intel worked with Ars Electronica Futurelab, a center for multidisciplinary research and development in Austria, on the project. The display was designed to showcase the advances in drone technology and the potential of the UAV industry. Intel has been active in the drone industry, investing $60m in drone-maker Yuneec and recently acquiring German drone firm Ascending Technologies
Dubbed the “Drone 100” because it featured 100 drones flying in a fireworks-inspired formation, the swarm was controlled by an operator on the ground who was using Intel software on a PC. The drones lit up the night sky while a small orchestra played Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The drones flew in sync with the music, simulating a Fourth of July fireworks display in an application of technology that Krzanich said could someday replace actual fireworks.
Intel may be the current world record holder for simultaneous drone flight, but it is not the only drone swarm to make headlines. Last year, a team of researchers from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California stunned drone fans with their 50-drone swarm. The drone formation was controlled by a single operator using custom hobby-made drones with a Wi-Fi connection to help coordinate their flight.
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