Thousands of drones used for light show during Olympics opening ceremony

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The company says its launch of 1,280 drones for the pre-recording broke a Guinness World record for "most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously.".

Intel is among the corporate sponsors for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang that are taking the opportunity to promote its products and services before the global audience. Intel does still plan to put on smaller, 300-drone live shows every night for the medal ceremonies.

USA viewers tuned in to a tape-delayed broadcast on Friday night that showed rehearsal footage from December, when Intel's light show broke the Guinness World Record for flying the most drones, 1,280, simultaneously.

Kicking off the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, viewers from around the globe were treated to a record-breaking light show during the opening ceremony that surpassed Intel's previous record of 500 drones flown simultaneously in Germany in 2016.

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The drone show was prepared by Intel and its Shooting Star drone technology that allows fleets of drones to be programmed, assembled and operated to create unique, choreographed images. All the drones for the shows are controlled by one computer and one drone pilot. Each one of the drones weighed approximately eight ounces and averaged a 20-minute flight time.

These drones are the handy work of Intel. Wired explains it nicely: "After animators draw up the show using 3-D design software, each individual drone gets assigned to act as a kind of aerial pixel, filling in the 3-D image against the night sky".

Each drone weighs about as much as a volleyball and is fitted with LEDs that can beam any shape with 4 billion color combinations. The performance also surpassed the 300-drone salute that was pre-recorded with Lady Gaga for Super Bowl LI past year.