From smartphones to wearables to smart appliances, and now, to drones. That seems to be the journey that Intel has taken as it tries to gain some ground in markets outside its traditional PC silicon market. Although it’s not exactly taking on more established drone makers like DJI head on, it is aiming for a more niche segment where it might actually stand uncontested for some time. And what better way to make a big splash than by launching 300 of those drones above the Super Bowl Halftime show.
The Super Bowl has become a prime chance for companies, even tech ones that don’t exactly have direct connections to the sport, to advertise their wares. Intel, of course, is no different but it managed to trump them all by getting the most coveted halftime spot. Of course, it had to share that spot with Lady Gaga who is really the center of attraction. But, even for a few brief moments, Intel was able to grab the crowd’s attention with a choreographed light show.
That was made possible by Intel’s “Shooting Star” quadcopters, basically drones equipped with very bright LED lights that can be programmed to display any color of choice. Being drones, these Shooting Stars can be programmed to fly in certain formations and change colors at certain times. The end effect is a dazzling though brief light show with the drones forming the US flag at the start of Lady Gaga’s performance and, in the end, sponsor Pepsi’s logo as well as Intel’s.
The Shooting Star drones themselves won’t hold a candle to professional commercial drones, but that’s hardly Intel’s intention anyway. Instead, these drones are going to be marketed towards entertainment uses, practically replacing more expensive, more dangerous, and harder to control fireworks and similar materials. The drones, however, may need a bit of work on the legal side, considering current regulatory restrictions on when and where drones can fly. Intel, in fact, had to tape part of the performance earlier to get around those limitations. But, at least for now, with no other similar drone system in the market, Intel can claim the entertainment drone throne.