A spectacle produced by the Ars Electronica Futurelab for Intel, the digital chip maker, created a performance where 100 drones (spaxels) took to the sky simultaneously.
7 degrees Celsius, hardly any wind, no rain, not a cloud in the sky—on the evening of November 4th 2015 at Ahrenlohe Airfield near Hamburg, Germany. At 17:45 sharp, a drum roll by the percussionist of the orchestra that had been assembled on the runway to provide the soundtrack for a film of the event signaled it was time for liftoff, and 100 drones departed on a synchronized formation flight. The approximately 700-gram, LED-equipped quadcopters manufactured in Munich by Ascending Technologies climbed to an altitude of about 120-metres. Then they began their routine of illuminated choreography in the night sky. The culmination of the performance was a 250-metre-wide Intel logo installation in the sky. After seven minutes aloft, all 100 drones landed at their designated positions.
“One of our biggest challenges is that we fly outdoors. You’re struggling with wind that’s incessantly and, above all, differentially buffeting the individual drones; with the cold, which can drastically reduce the batteries’ output; with telecommunications signals and frequency overlapping that can severely impair the drones’ communication among themselves as well as with the ground station; and other issues too.” Horst Hörtner
Intel, in collaboration with Ars Electronica Futurelab, broke the world record in the category Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Airborne Simultaneously, officially confirmed by an on-site adjudicator from the Guinness World Records.
Video of the flight: