Drones Display Better Than Fireworks!
Written by Lucy Black   
Thursday, 02 January 2020

Given the worries and controversy around the (2020) New Year firework displays perhaps this deserves to be better known: Visitors to the 2019 Big Data Expo held in Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, southwest China were treated to a nightly light show staged using 526 drones.

(From: 2019-06-22)

The quality of the display is exceptional, proving that drones can replace fireworks for spectacular large-scale displays.


China was where fireworks originated and now it seems to be taking the lead with using their electronic counterparts, drones, for the same purpose.

China already holds the Guinness World Record for a display staged in May 2018 - but that achievment was marred by some less than perfect performance on the day with several drones falling out the sky, a reminder of how difficult they are to control. The record-breaking display involved 1,374 drones, outnumbering the 1,218 Intel drones that had set the record for:

“most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously.”

In December 2017, when Intel filmed its planned contribution to the opening ceremony of the 2018 Opening Ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. It was lucky that this rehearsal had been recorded since freezing weather and strong winds meant that the live display had to be cancelled and the video footage was used instead. 

We have two videos of the show in the skies of Guanshanhu Park in Guiyang, capital city of southwest China's Guizhou province was also filmed during the rehearsal. According to the CCTV+ report:

The drones, equipped with colorful lights rose up to the sky and aligned into different patterns, animations and 3D designs corresponding to the theme of the expo "Innovative Development, Digital Future". 



The degree of control here is impressive and means that swarm drones can be used to spell out whatever message you want to deliver. It would be good to know more details of the system. For example, how are the paths computed? Is there any positional feedback if a drone gets out of position? And, of course, the really important question - how do they avoid each other?

Creating the hardware and software to make this sort of thing possible isn't easy, and hence isn't cheap, but once you have it then it is reusable - which is more than you can say for fireworks.



More Information

Southwest China puts on dazzling drone show

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