Could this be the future of fireworks?

As technology progresses and humankind embraces the unmatched precision of drones, astonishing feats using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) become a reality, like taking beautiful videos of cherry blossoms in the heart of Tokyo.

A recent light show performance held in the ancient city of Xi’an, China, saw drones being utilized in place of fireworks. While coordinated use of the flying machines for light displays isn’t exactly new, the scale was a completely different story, boasting a whopping 1,374 drones dancing in concert in the darkness of night.

▼ Such astounding performances may replace fireworks one day.

Representing the entire 13.74 kilometer (8.54 miles) length of Xi’an City Wall, the 1,374 buzzing UAVs took to the skies on the evening of 1 May. Among them, 74 special drones symbolized the 74 countries that cooperated with China in its signature “One Belt One Road Initiative”, an economic strategy bridging various regions of the world.

▼ Dotting the night sky like gorgeous fireflies of the future.

▼ A range of messages were displayed,
including “New era”, “Run Xi’an”, and “I love Xi’an”.

So grand was the scale of the drone performance that it entered the Guiness World Records for the most number of simultaneous airborne UAVs. Organizers of the event estimated the cost of the show to be 10.5 million yuan (US$1.65 million), drawing crowds of onlookers hoping to take videos and pictures of the magnificent spectacle.

Not everything went smoothly, however, as coordinating such an impressive number of drones proved to be a massive logistical and programming nightmare, with a portion of the hovering machines stubbornly refusing to hover into predetermined positions. Drone recovery after the show went well for the most part, but some of the UAVs landed with the grace of stones dropping out of the sky.

▼ Darn those rogue drones.

Despite the unfortunate hiccups in drone operations — maybe they should hire these crack UAV pilots next time? — the amazing light performance at such immense scale made for an unforgettable night for residents of Xi’an.

Source: Tech Web, Observer, YouTube/New China TV, YouTube/Beijing News
Images: YouTube/New China TV