500 Intel drones dance in the night sky

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Intel’s new Shooting Star Drone is the latest UAV announcement from a company that is better known for its processors. The VP and GM of Intel’s UAV Segment explains why drones fit perfectly into the company’s global strategy.

Intel is getting serious about drones, with a string of announcements about unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology. The company is known best for its processors, but the Internet of Things makes computers harder to recognize. While yesterday’s computing was done in a heavy rectangular box, today’s processing takes place in everyday objects and tiny gadgets.

Drones are no exception. “We see them as flying computers,” Anil Nanduri tells ZDNet. He is Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s UAV Segment.

Today Intel unveiled its latest creation: The Intel Shooting Star Drone. Nanduri says:

Think of it not just as a drone, but as a fleet of drones. It’s targeted and specially designed for a light show, and using that system we’ve already set a new Guinness World Record of 500 drones simultaneously flying.

The Shooting Star system is designed for light shows, so it will initially be used for entertainment, such as shows as theme parks, sports stadiums, and large public events (Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, etc.). The show is a bit like battery-powered fireworks, but with Intel’s brains behind the operation, fancy animation can be created in just a few days.

Each quadcopter weighs just over half a pound, with built-in LED lights that can create more than 4 billion color combinations. The system’s algorithms determine where drones should be placed and optimize the flight path. An entire fleet of hundreds of drones can be controlled by a single computer.

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