A Swarm of 800 Drones Create a Giant Airplane in the Sky

The Nanchang Flight Convention ended on a high note with 800 drones taking to the sky.
Donna Fuscaldo

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No its 800 drones coming together to light up the sky in the shape of a massive airplane.

Attendees to the Nanchang Flight Convention bore witness to 800 drones that came together to create a giant airplane, among other things, in the sky.

The show, in and of itself ,is designed to wow visitors with state-of-the-art aviation, space travel, and drone technology. But this took it to the next level. The drones kicked off the air show creating a propeller plane, which morphed into a giant airplane. The drones also formed a helicopter and what appeared to be a spacecraft. 


Convention organizers saved the choreographed spectacular to the end of the weekend event that included more than 100 aircraft including jet fights and commercial aircraft. The aim of the convention is to showcase the aviation industry in Nanchang with an eye toward luring more investors to China. During the event, visitors are treated to an aircraft show, spacecraft show, and the drone performance. 

Drone technology keeps on advancing 

With drone usage increasing researchers, technology companies, and governments have been working to advance their capabilities. The more advanced they become the more likely they will become part of everyday life in the years to come. 

Those efforts to advance drones were on display when a team of engineers from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands developed an algorithm that enables a swarm of mini-drones to move together. Using the algorithm, the drones were able to carry out a mock search and rescue mission. It's something typically reserved for larger robots that have more sensors. With the algorithm, the drones navigate as a pack. 

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Having drones travel together can be useful in tracking stock in big warehouses, keeping an eye on industrial fields, or surveilling industrial plants, to name a few examples. Not to mention wowing millions of people by creating a glowing airplane in the sky. 

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