Drone 100 2016

A spectacular display of drone technology by Intel Corporation in collaboration with the Ars Electronica Futurelab involving 100 small aircrafts being launched skywards in formation has earned a new world record title for the Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) airborne simultaneously. “Drone 100” took place at Flugplatz Ahrenlohe, Tornesch, Germany, in November but the astonishing footage was only shown for the first time on Wednesday during Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s keynote on the opening day of this year’s CES technology tradeshow in Las Vegas. Official Guinness World Records adjudicator Pravin Patel was on hand to verify record and congratulate.

 

 

Intel was interested in expanding beyond it’s company’s core business, computing, by entering a field with intriguing future prospects: unmanned aerial vehicles. Their research into what was happening at the sector’s leading edge inevitably brought a visionary project to their attention. The spaxels’ shows in London, Brisbane and Dubai were not only delighting crowds on site; they were creating a sensation in social networks too. With Intel’s interest expressed in a display of coordinated aerial artistry in conjunction with a new Intel campaign, the company supported the technical R&D that aimed to make the flight more secure.

 

An even 100 drones took to the air over Tornesch, Germany, on the evening of Nov. 4, 2015, to create Drone 100. The elaborate marriage of music and light and flight was the result of months of effort by Intel Corp. engineers and Ars Electronica FutureLab digital artists. Their sky-filling artwork was accompanied by an orchestra on the ground and fully enabled by Intel-powered PCs. All their efforts were rewarded with a Guinness World Records citing for the “most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously.” Credit: Intel Corporation
An even 100 drones took to the air over Tornesch, Germany, on the evening of Nov. 4, 2015, to create Drone 100.  Credit: Intel Corporation

 

So, the challenge was to launch 100 drones and deploy them aloft three-dimensionally for maximum impact. Making this happen called for tools offering significantly higher flexibility to enable twice as many spaxels to fly the formation now being proposed. Finally, an algorithmic solution delivered the solution. Success in attaining the goal of a world-record formation—one envisioned in 2012 and that was now being suggested by Intel to the Guinness people—took a whole year of R&D work, which really gained traction in August 2015. The different designs of flight formations culminated in a 250-meter-wide Intel logo that was eventually synced with a custom-made composition.

 

100 Drones painted the sky in many different shapes... Credit: Martin Hieslmair
100 Drones painted the sky in many different shapes… Credit: Martin Hieslmair

 

The collaboration on site among the Futurelab staffers, the representatives of Intel, the film crew and the members of an orchestra that had been hired especially for this show went like clockwork. The outcome of an entire year’s development effort was an impressive sound & light show featuring unique resolution, cool colors and fascinating forms. For an up-close-and-personal account of how this extraordinary production played out, by all means read the Ars Electronica Blog posting entitled Spaxels: An Extraordinary Achievement Featuring 100 Points of Light!


Flight Crew:

Florian Berger, Chris Bruckmayr, Horst Hörtner, Andreas Jalsovec, Martin Mörth, Benjamin Olsen, Michael Platz, Jonathan Rutherford

Airfield Helpers:

Brunon Bruno Drewniak, Samuel Eckl, David Haider, Simon Kopfberger, Gordan Gogo Matic, Walter Rasta Rauchegger, Alois Luis Wohlmuther, Raphael Schaumburg-Lippe