As the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons took the field on Sunday during the first Super Bowl game ever to involve overtime, there was a fleet of drones waiting under wraps to provide a very well put together halftime show. As Lady Gaga began to sing “This Land is Your Land”, the pre-recorded fleet of red and blue drones rallied up into the shape of the American Flag behind her.
Wired Magazine claimed that the 300 drones used for this display were filmed before the event, to make sure that strict FAA regulations were met. Current rules make it easy for photographers, those who are surveying, and real estate agents to operate commercial drone businesses, when you use more than one drone at once or fly over people, things get a little tighter within the rule book.
Flying at night is also an area of drone flight that is generally illegal, and the FAA has an exemption in which it grants operators permission to bypass these mandates if the performance is filmed beforehand. The Class B airspace and 700 feet in the air that the drones flew up to pull this off were two other issues with FAA legalities they faced as well.
The team that put on this year’s Super Bowl and Lady Gaga wanted to have a display that offered excitement folks had not seen before. This was definitely what was pulled off Sunday, as the specially-designed shooting star drones for festivals and entertainment events hit the sky. These custom made-drones by Intel are equipped with LED lights that can produce a staggering 4 billion color combinations, and can be programmed to show awesome animations that dwarf anything produced in days past.
The drones used for the Super Bowl presentation each weigh only 280 grams, and have an average flight time of around 20 minutes. The drones used here were equipped with cages around the blades, and also have a few other distinct differences from consumer drones.
Intel explained to interviewers that there was a very large production with 100 drones near Hamburg, Germany two years ago that a bit of a precursor to displays such as this. Artists had programmed the flight patterns for these drones in advance, and there was a dedicated pilot for each 25 devices.
Just one year later, Intel figured out how to make sure that one pilot could control 100 drones, a pretty advanced feat considering it was only a fourth of that the year before. These drones are used solely for lighting up the sky in massive displays, which may not seem like much, considering the fact that some drones haul massive payloads, and shoot different types of photos and videos.
But one thing that was evident Sunday is that these drones do the deed of decorating very well, and even if some people weren’t that impressed by the show, most viewers had to admit deep down inside that it really was spectacular.
As we were shown in powerful movie reboots such as Tron Legacy, a bit of far-advanced technology can do wonders to draw the viewer in, and made scenes such as the lightcycle race many infinite times more appealing. Pictures such as Tron brought to light what can be done with high-level VR technology, and in the very near future, it will be interesting to see what drones will contribute to sporting events and contests such as marathons.
This was a very pivotal event as far as the future of drone legalities are concerned: recently there was a large-scale drone demonstration on Capitol Hill, to attempt to ease governing agencies a bit into the future as far as the acceptance of drones is concerned. Even if some folks in high places are a bit skeptical about just how much the future will involve drone technology, many hobbyists and hardcore photographers know that the technology is here to stay.
Although spectators love to watch humans and the element that they bring to massive productions such as dance, theater, and sports, it is pretty easy to discern why audiences have always been fascinated with robotics and automation.
Even though we are a very independent species, we have always been amazed by the premise of some entities being so intelligent: the mere idea of things such as collision avoidance technology in cars and drones has been keeping curiosity of many peaked as we move towards future horizons.
Seeing the pre-taped presentation of drones doing their thing no doubt gave many an idea of how stellar choreography and robotics are going to make their mark heftily on future events. Even half a decade down the road, it’s certain that these displays will keep getting brighter, bigger, and absolutely more dazzling.