When Lady Gaga took to stage February 5 during the Super Bowl LI (51st) Halftime show, she was accompanied by a fleet of 300 dancing and twinkling drones, the Intel Shooting Star Drones. The quadcopter drones are equipped with LED lights that can be programmed to create over 4 billion color combinations. The drones can fly for up to 20 minutes and all 300 drones were controlled by one drone pilot using a laptop computer, with a second pilot on hand as backup.
Here are some interesting facts about the Super Bowl LI Halftime show:
- This is the first time drones have been used during a televised event and/or Super Bowl.
- This is the first time drones were used to complement an entertainment act at this scale.
- The show featured 300 drones.
- The Intel Shooting Star drones are designed specifically for light shows and weigh only 280 grams – less than the weight of a volleyball.
- The drones feature built-in LED lights that can create over 4 billion color combinations in the sky.
- The drones are constructed with a soft frame made of flexible plastics and foam and contains no screws.
- The drones can fly for up to 20 minutes.
- All 300 drones can be controlled by one computer and one drone pilot. However, there is always a second pilot on hand as backup.
- This is the highest the Intel Shooting Star drones have flown. Intel received a special waiver from the FAA to fly the fleet up to 700 feet. Intel also received an additional special waiver to fly the drones in the more restrictive class B airspace.
The software and animation interface on the Intel Shooting Star drone system allows a light show to be created in a matter of days or weeks, depending on the animation complexity. The fleet size is dependent on the animation needed and while only 300 drones were used during the Super Bowl Halftime show, Intel has used 500 drones before. The software runs a fleet check prior to each flight and even selects what drone is most optimized to do based on battery life, GPS reception and more.
It’s true that these Intel Shooting Star drones currently only light up the night sky, but the real story behind them is not the light show that they can display but the complex software that allows them to be controlled as one single fleet of drones — by one drone pilot using one laptop.
While now they just dazzle with choreographed light displays, we should also be able to replace blinking LEDs with small cameras. Imagine filming a movie scene with a number of these drones equipped with high-definition cameras capturing different views with multiple vantage points from high up in the sky or low to the ground, programmed to keep out of one another’s frame. Directors may not need to ever shout, “Cut,” anymore and refilm the same scene from another angle.
Watch Lady Gaga’s Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show:
Intel Drones Light Up Lady Gaga Performance During Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime
First Time Drones Featured in a Super Bowl and Televised Event
- Three hundred Intel® Shooting Star™ drones light up the sky over Lady Gaga to kick off the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show performance.
- Following the show, a 10-second Intel ad showcased the drones forming a Pepsi logo that morphed into an Intel logo.
HOUSTON, Feb. 5, 2017 – Today during the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show, Intel Corporation collaborated with the NFL, Pepsi and six-time GRAMMY®*-winning music icon, Lady Gaga, to create a unique drone light show experience to kick off her performance. Three hundred Intel® Shooting Star™ drones lit up the sky in a choreographed aerial performance marking the first-ever drone integration during a televised event and a Super Bowl.
As Lady Gaga’s performance began, Intel Shooting Star drones created a backdrop of colorful formations in the sky including twinkling stars that transformed into red and blue moving stars, before creating the American Flag for a dramatic finale that brought Lady Gaga to center stage on the field. Additionally, the Intel Shooting Star drones finished out the halftime performance by forming the Pepsi logo in the sky.
“Lady Gaga and the Super Bowl creative team wanted to pull off something that had never been done before and we were able to combine Intel drone innovation with her artistry to pull off a truly unique experience,” said Josh Walden, senior vice president and general manager, New Technology Group, Intel. “The potential for these light show drones is endless and we hope this experience inspires other creatives, artists and innovators to really think about how they can incorporate drone technology in new ways that have yet to even be thought of.”
At the conclusion of the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show, Intel also ran a 10-second spot featuring the Intel Shooting Star drones morphing from the Pepsi logo into the Intel logo.
The Intel Shooting Star drones are a new type of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), specifically designed for entertainment purposes such as festivals and entertainment events. The purpose-built quadcopter drone is built with safety in mind and equipped with LED lights that can create over 4 billion color combinations and easily be programmed for any animation. For full details on Intel Shooting Star drones, visit the drone show fact sheet.
For more information on Intel Shooting Star drone light shows, visit “Intel Drones Light up the Sky,” and for more information on the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show, visit www.pepsihalftime.com.
More About the Intel Drones:
In November 1975, Intel’s Drone 100 spectacle set a Guinness World Record for most UAVs (100 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) airborne simultaneously.
Here’s The Making of Drone 100 video:
Of course, Intel did not stop there, but set another Guiness World Record with 500 drones in 1976. From trying to control individual drones, they switched to controlling one fleet of 500 drones. Two people are required to be present to operate them, but one of the two is strictly acting as backup.