Olympic Drones Break Their Own Records

Entertaining crowds during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, more than 1,000 unmanned aerial vehicles took flight simultaneously to set a new Guinness World Record.

Let’s face it. Drones are just cool. At Automation World, we’re always itching to cover the latest developments in drone technology, but we have to be mindful of our mission and focus on how that technology is being used in manufacturing environments. They’ve become particularly useful for collecting data on assets—oil pipelines, transmission towers, flare stacks, rail yards, you name it—that might otherwise be difficult to reach.

Well, forget that for a moment.

The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, which took place earlier today in Pyeongchang, South Korea, is replaying on prime time as I write this. The Olympics never fail to choke me up, I have to admit—the joy, the determination, the spirit, the pride…the drones flying in harmony.

Looking to get in on the record-breaking atmosphere that makes the Olympic Games so incredible to watch, Intel set loose 1,218 drones at the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018 Opening Ceremony. The fleet of Intel Shooting Star drones—unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) designed specifically for entertainment purposes—not only worked together to create animations of Olympic sports and logos with their LED lights, but also to set a Guinness World Record for the “most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously.”

“The Olympics are a time when the sports and entertainment industries are buzzing with record-setting performances, so it was the perfect stage for Intel Shooting Star drones and our team to set their own kind of record,” said Natalie Cheung, general manager of Intel’s drone light show team.

Prerecorded in December for the ceremony and controlled by one pilot, the fleet of drones surpassed Intel’s previous record of 500 drones flown simultaneously in Germany in 2016, which itself was up from 100 drones less than a year earlier.

“We are honored to have Intel drones playing several roles at the Olympic Games,” said Anil Nanduri, vice president and general manager, Intel Drone Group. “Not unlike the athletes competing in the events, we continue to push to innovate and develop the drone technologies that inspire people all over the world.”

And, so this isn’t a completely gratuitous exercise, enjoy these links to our previous (mostly legitimate) coverage of drone technology:

Now check out this video below to learn more about the technology behind Intel's drone show:

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