Today, drone light shows are no longer something new, which is not the case with drone-based digital signage, which may become very popular in the near future. According to a recent Intel patent, drones can be used to create mobile billboards that adapt to the environment and audience. Of course, not everything that is patented turns into a real product or service, however, one day it may become a replacement for some of the forms of advertising that companies use today.
Intel and drones
When Intel isn’t busy rejuvenating its foundry business and fighting AMD for the CPU performance crown, the company is exploring different technologies and their uses. For example, Intel’s R&D division is keen on drones that can be used as a more spectacular alternative to fireworks and create interesting visual spectacles during major events.
Intel has hosted several dazzling drone light shows in recent years, notably the company’s 50th Anniversary Enlightenment Event and the Walmart Drone Celebration Light Show. And most recently, the company deployed 1,000 light drones as part of the promotion of its Arc Alchemist GPUs, which they promised to equip millions of gaming PCs around the world, although to date this has not been done.
Patent for Special Digital Drone Signage
In general, it is not surprising that Intel has a number of patents for this kind of technology, but one such patent, dated January 4, 2022, is US Pat. no. 11,217,126 — disclosing methods and systems for creating “ad hoc digital signage/custom digital signage” for public or private displays deserves special attention. To begin with, any drone light show put on during a public event requires months of painstaking work to choreograph a swarm of drones to the proposed animation, find the right spot, and test the deployment on site to make sure everything works with reasonable accuracy and safety. .
So, in essence, this patent describes how to create a kind of drone-based billboard that can be easily moved and reconfigured on the fly to display different types of advertising. These methods include drones with projection systems and the process of collecting data from various sensors to ensure the ability of the UAV to adapt to the audience and even move with it as needed.
In situations where space is limited, the drones will scan the geometry of the environment and adjust the projection size to fit a smaller area. For areas where larger projections are possible, multiple drones will work together to compose a seamless digital signage, where one of them will act as an assistant to adjust the viewing angle of the projection and measure the level of audience interest. But that’s not all! If the sign is not attracting attention, the controlling drone can change the content displayed by other devices.
The projection surface can also be special, in the sense that a swarm of drones can split into two groups — one will deploy the projection, and the other will be projected onto it. This patent even details the spatial audio system for such video ads and how to customize the content to suit the mood and general interests of the audience.
If that sounds crazy to you, just think of the Russian startup StartRocket proposed just a few years ago, which involved using satellites to illuminate the night sky with advertisements, or the American idea of using robots to paint advertisements on the surface of the moon!
Fortunately, even the relatively mundane drone advertising idea presented in the patent has yet to materialize into a real service. At the time of writing, the company offers drone light shows with 200–500 drones at prices ranging from $99,000 to $299,000, as well as custom plans for large projects with 500+ drones (price is determined by individual agreement with the customer). These drone light shows are positioned as an alternative to fireworks as they are safer, cleaner, quieter and greener.
Intel drone light show dedicated to the announcement of a Samsung laptop with 5G support.
Fly safely. Peace and goodness to all!