Intel’s Drone Fleet Shines Bright During Super Bowl Halftime Show

What Happened
During the opening moments of last night’s Super Bowl halftime show, a fleet of over 300 drones amazingly swarmed and swirled in a smooth, coordinating manner to form various background images such as the U.S. flag to support Lady Gaga’s performance. The drones, dubbed “Shooting Star” and launched by Intel last year, are a foot across and weigh just eight ounces. The performance is coordinated by a central computer that can do unlimited UAV animations in three dimensions.

IBM wasn’t the only companies that brought drones to the Super Bowl broadcast. Amazon also teased its “delivery by drones” Prime Air service in its Super Bowl ad last night, telling customers to “look for it soon.” Previously, Intel has worked with Disney to deploy this drone fleet for performances at the Disney World at Orlando.

What Brands Need To Do
This marks a high-profile debut of drones for entertainment use on national television and heralds the great potential that drones are set to unleash across major industries including entertainment, logistics, travel, and agriculture. For brands in those industries, now is the time to start exploring the new use cases that coordinated UAVs can unlock and figure out how drones may be integrated into your services and content production. As drone fleet management continues to mature, we expect to see more interesting and exciting use cases of drones to emerge for brands to take advantage of.


Source: Wired

Header image courtesy of Intel’s YouTube

CES 2016: Here Comes A Human-Carrying Autonomous Drone

Last year at CES, a couple of drone-makers wowed the crowd with autonomous drones. But this year, self-driving drones are no longer that surprising – until EHANG came out with a giant autonomous drone that can fly one human passenger around without manual piloting.

The Chinese drone manufacturer yesterday unveiled its Ehang 184, an electric-powered drone can be fully charged in two hours, and fly for 23 minutes at sea level. Passengers can set a flight plan, and then only need to give two commands, “take off” and “land,” using a Microsoft Surface tablet mounted on its dashboard.

For more of the Lab’s CES coverage, click here.

Photo credit: Matt Lehrer

Amazon Prime Air May Bring Drones To Life

Some people assume drones are only a military invention, but Amazon is debunking that urban legend with a new program called Amazon Prime Air. It would utilize drones to drop packages at people’s houses across the country in what Amazon is saying would only take 30 minutes or less. In a segment on 60 Minutes, CEO Jeff Bezos said that the project is about five years from full roll-out, largely because of FAA regulations and municipal legalities that the company is sorting through. Nonetheless, the future is here: get ready to see drones piloting packages to your door – what you want, when you want it.

A Drone’s Eye View – The Only Way To Explain Burning Man To A Virgin

It’s around about this time of year that a lot of people ask what Burning Man is like: Who are the main acts? What do you do all day? What do you bring? Did you shower?

Um… the thing is, it’s extremely difficult to provide answers… which is in itself possibly the most infuriating response you can give. And this is because every person’s experience of Burning Man is so subjective, to the point that almost everything documented about Burning Man will always feel wrong or desperately lacking in the view of most other “Burners.”

With the advent of camera-armed mobile devices, there are certainly plenty of ways for individuals to record their specific experiences. But this also poses a conflict for Burners, who are constantly torn between the need to capture the moment vs. trying to be in it and simply enjoy it. The technical term for this (which results in something suitably painful-sounding) is digiphrenia– the “schizophrenic cacophony of divided attention and temporal disconnection.”

At the Lab, we talk often about how mobile is simply a bridging technology to a more convenient future where we will wear our tech, diminishing the need to capture the moment “in some crude or clumsy way,” as put in a post-Burn downer Techcrunch piece entitled: “The Mediated Life is not worth living.” 

But while wearing our tech might allow us to truly enjoy the present moment, and “help us stay human and stay more connected to our physical world,” the perspective remains purely subjective.

The only thing that could adequately communicate Burning Man to someone who has never been (aka a “virgin”) is some sort of omniscient being that can capture it in its totality.

And I am not referring to the alleged UFO sightings from last year – (I do like to preserve some of my British cynicism) – but rather other flying objects – UAVs or drones – which were observed flying over the Playa this year.

In my experience, the drone’s-eye-view provides an unparalleled 10,000 foot view on what Burning Man is, in its entirety and as true to scale as possible.

Now I am going to shut up, and let all you “virgins” take in this awesome video and judge for yourselves.

Image credit: Clay Greenbush