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Could Drones Replace Fireworks?

The world’s first documentation of fireworks actually comes from the Chinese in the year 1040. As it turns out, back then, they made what was known as “fire pills,” which was essentially gun powder wrapped in paper and then lit on fire to thwart evil spirits away.

Shanghai Disneyland Fireworks

Today, fireworks are used in theme parks, concerts, festivals, and even your own backyard if you’re so inclined. They are usually synchronized to music, can be adjusted for height and have the ability to create designs like flowers and smiley faces. However, one has to wonder what’s next for nighttime spectacles in the sky?

Fireworks drones

We have covered what drones can do before here at Theme Park University and theme parks and arena shows are using them already in mostly indoor venues due to wind and other weather concerns. However, technology has advanced far enough that Intel can control 100 color changing drones at a time in the night sky, with the possibility to go up to 1,000 in the future with the permission of the FAA.

Intel Drone Software

With fireworks, the images you can create are fairly limited to what you can do with exploding gun powder, and often times, they end up looking warped or upside down. On the other hand, drones can make those possibilities virtually limitless. You can create intricate designs, spell our words or phrases and much more. The video below gives a small sample with what can be done using 100 drones, but the potential is huge with this technology.

Which do you think is cooler? This new drone technology or a fireworks spectacular? Maybe both could be melded together for something even more incredible? Let me know in the comments below!

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Images Copyright: Intel

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  1. fan51
    Posted May 9, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    How about more advanced fireworks that can make different shapes. Drones are attempting to create an image that would appear to be no different than what you already seen from water screens. Can’t be the same old.

    • Posted May 10, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      I agree with you. right now drones are just showing us something we have already seen in the entertainment world. Im sure there is a much more inventive way to use them. Im interested to see what the imagineers can create.

  2. Posted May 10, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Paramore (Cirqu’s first broadway show) uses drones in their show. It’s extremely arbitrary and does not add anything to the plot or even fit into the story, but it gives us something to look at while the actors sing a very boring song.

  3. mark_h
    Posted May 10, 2016 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Already a hybrid of lighting effects and fireworks are used in some parks- the link below shows the end of season 2015 display at Alton Towers (for noise reasons they are limited in the number of firework displays they can have- this show could have been all fireworks as they do not have the budget issues of running it nightly) EPCOT IllumiNations has a similar approach but a bit less integrated.


    Drones and fireworks would be more problematic to have at the same time as there could be interactions between the two.

    Drones can (as shown by the Intel video) give a good nighttime show (assuming they are reliable for nightly shows)- it won’t be the same as fireworks but will still be a show.

    If drones can carry and power multiple moving lights, laser effects and smoke machines then they could entirely replace fireworks- until then they can augment the performance.

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