Intel Drone Light Show Spooks Folsom Locals

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Few companies are as quietly influential in drone industry as Intel. The tech giant has backed a range of UAV startups and related technologies, from Yuneec to Movidius, Airware and PrecisionHawk. But few applications have captured the imagination like Intel’s drone light shows.

You’ve probably seen them before, notably above the Superbowl and at a range of music events. Intel is pushing the technology forwards as a way to wow crowds but potentially market products and/or companies at the same time.

A versatile aerial performance like this is not something that existed before this technology came along.

This week, near Intel’s base in Folsom, CA, locals were treated to a test run of the illuminating drone fireworks. Plenty of them didn’t know what they were watching and must have thought the alien invasion was about to begin. Check out the video from CBS Sacramento below:

“What the hell…it’s scary!?”

A couple of residents were watching as 500 drones performed a choreographed routine featuring Intel’s Shooting Star fleet. The drones are able to tell a story in the sky with a range of colors, movements and shapes.

“I was a little scared because I didn’t know what it could be. It looked like a firework at first and I didn’t know what was going on,” said one onlooker.

You can understand why someone who hasn’t seen the technology before might react in that way. But we guess that’s what happens when Intel lives in your backyard.

Intel light shows and the FAA

Unfortunately for Intel, these light shows go against a number of FAA regulations. This explains why their appearances have been limited so far despite the interest and demand in the technology.

As well as requiring a computer system to keep all of the drones flying autonomously and in sync, they are most easily viewed at night and are wasted when there isn’t a crowd of people nearby.

In recent weeks CNN has been able to get a waiver from the FAA to fly over crowds of people. Who knows, maybe Intel will apply for something similar and these drone light shows might become a much more regular occurrence.

And if beyond line of sight and night flight is opened up for commercial pilots, that could offer even more possibilities for these light shows. You never know… You might even be able to send a miniature show to a friend one day.



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