Intel today announced both its record-breaking drone flight, Intel 500, and its new Intel Shooting Star drone.
These innovations represent Intel’s focus on the drone industry, as evidenced by new product offerings and recent acquisitions in the commercial drone space.
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What started as a mundane hallway conversation — “What if we made the Intel logo with drones?” — is now a reality. In October, Intel announced its commercial branded drone, the Intel Falcon 8+ octocopter — now, the technology company is getting into the aerial entertainment business with the Intel Shooting Star.
When creating and designing the Shooting Star, Intel focused heavily on safety concerns, but also on the need for creative expression.
The quads have an integrated LED payload, capable of creating 4 billion color combinations with a red, green, blue, white LED system. Caged propellers help ensure bystanders are protected in case of an unforeseen malfunction.
Intel built into the Shooting Star its AscTec Trinity Flight Control system
(a product of Ascending Technologies, which was acquired by Intel
in January), allowing for increased stabilization and improved performance in gusty winds. The Trinity system is the same control program used in Intel’s Falcon 8+ and E-volo’s Volocopter
. The drone is also splashproof and can survive flights in light rain.
The company chose to move away from more durable materials such as carbon fiber, instead opting to build the Shooting Star out of entirely breakable materials — the airframe is plastic, and the drone is also covered by a layer of protective foam. These design choices mean the drone is not only safe, but also extremely lightweight — weighing in at only 280 grams, or less than the weight of a volleyball.
On Oct. 7 in Hamburg, Germany, Intel put its new drone to the test when 500 Shooting Star drones flew at once, breaking its own Guinness World Record for Most UAVs Airborne Simultaneously. The company set the record previously with its Intel 100 performance in Nov. 2015
, which featured 100 illuminated drones flying in formation near Hamburg.
The company saw inefficiencies in its original Intel 100 performance, realizing that there were ways to optimize the workflow, systems, and airframe involved in the production. The Shooting Star drone was borne from this effort to build upon Intel’s existing fleet technology.
Natalie Cheung, UAV product manager at Intel, explains that the Intel 500 performance orchestrated the 500 Shooting Star drones to first collectively form an aerial 500, and then fly into the form of the Intel logo — similar to the original Intel 100 performance.
“You could see that you could really create 3D animations — there’s just so much more than you can do with 500 [than 100],” she says.