Intel won’t disclose exactly how it was able to participate in the Super Bowl LIII halftime show, but it did disclose that it used 150 Intel Shooting Star drones to spell out the words “ONE” and “LOVE” during the musical performance. As Maroon 5 began singing “She Will be Loved,” Intel initiated its software directing 150 drones to float up and over the enclosed field. This show beat Intel’s previous indoor world record when it used 110 drones for an exhibit at CES 2018. This event was also different than other Intel Shooting Star drones show –for example, for Lady Gaga’s halftime show at the Super Bowl two years ago, the entire show was pre-recorded and then broadcast during the show –this year, because the drones were not flown in national airspace, the drones were flown in live-time. Of course, aside from the need for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) waivers to fly in “no-drone zones” (i.e. the Super Bowl), there were still safety concerns about malfunction and loss of control during the show. Intel said that they conducted several rehearsals and plenty of planning before the big day to help avoid those mishaps.
While Intel does not disclose its underlying technology, it has disclosed that it uses a wireless-based technology along with transmitters and beacons that can provide a specific enough location for the choreographed drone flight patterns indoors. While Intel did not need special FAA clearance for this event, it did have to file for a Special Temporary Authorization (STA) with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to complete the light show.