Drones are among the most familiar robots in daily life, but now they’re taking the place not of delivery vans but of fireworks.
Walmart live-streamed a “Walmart Holiday Drone Light Show,” as well as presenting it live for free in eight communities during the month of December.
The goal? To bring some holiday cheer to people who are getting sick and tired of the pandemic. “Let’s end the year looking up!” says the drone show’s website.
How does a drone light show work?
1,000 Intel drones were involved in the show. Specialized software worked out the drones’ flight paths based on the plan created by Walmart. People created the soundtrack and the information was sent to a drone pilot at a pilot’s station.
The flight crew checks for safety and makes sure that everything is ready for the show, and then starts the program.
The software is somewhat like video editing software. It creates a 3-D rendering and is monitored throughout the show with a dashboard. Each drone receives its own individual program and sets off.
The drones themselves are customized with extremely bright lights, and the pilots have special skills and certification. The show is subject to regulations having to do with safety and FAA regulations.
What’s the playlist?
Here are a few of the songs featured in the light show:
- “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”
- “Christmas in Hollis”
- “8 Days of Hanukkah”
- “Christmas Wrapping”
- “Run Run Rudolph”
- “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”
- “This Christmas”
- “Frosty the Snowman”
- “Candy Cane Lane”
- “Let It Snow”