Intel breaks world record with drone show

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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As a part of the 50th anniversary of Intel, the Folsom campus’ drone light show group put on a private showing Sunday evening, July 15, to celebrate its employees in the most extravagant way possible – breaking another Guinness World Record. 

Information on the drone show was leaked to the public a few days prior, resulting in thousands trying to view the mesmerizing show. Surrounding parking lots were full and the streets were lined as everyone in town wanted to see the show.

Drone Light Show Group General Manager Natalie Cheung said for their debut employee show, they flew 2,018 Intel Shooting Star Drones, breaking the world record for their fourth time in the last three years.

“What’s really amazing is we wanted to do something different for the 50th anniversary of Intel. When we heard about all of the celebrations happening across the world, we thought, ‘how can the drone light show team be a part of it? How can we give back to the employees and put on a show for them?’ So that is what we are doing tonight,” she said on the day of the event. “We really wanted to do something where we could go across the world and really showcase our technology.”

After the Folsom show, Intel will be putting on the event at the Intel headquarters in Santa Clara, as well as Germany.

The drone show was a little history of Intel; from the original Intel logo that was used for 37 years to data clouds and spheres.

“One of my favorites, the bunny people will be dancing around the sky,” she said.

There was also a globe to symbolize Intel’s more than 100,000 employees internationally, as well as the Intel 50th anniversary logo, Cheung said.

Three years ago, Cheung said they put on a drone show with just 100 drones, but they didn’t realize in a short time they would be where they are now.

“I was astonished technologically. The magnitude of drones we are flying here, I think, we didn’t realize that three years ago we would be here now,” she said.

The show began around 10 p.m. for about 5 minutes. The drones flew at high as 600 feet and as wide as 650 feet. Cheung said each drone weighs less than .75 pounds, is made out of plastic and foam to be lightweight, and can produce four billion different color combinations.

While the show only had two pilots for all 2,018 drones, they were all actually preprogrammed.

“The beauty about the technology we have built is it is all autonomous. You don’t want over 2,000 drones piloted by 2,000 people,” Cheung said. “You want everything to be preprogrammed so that each drone knows exactly where it’s going and what place it will be even before you fly. You minimize the risk and human error.”

Cheung mentioned drones are a great alternative for fireworks, as they can be used multiple times and there are no loud sounds.

“It’s crazy and mesmerizing to take it all in,” she said. “I like to watch the audiences’ reactions and just enjoy it.”