Could Intel Shooting Stars Drones Replace Fireworks
Intel launches its new lightweight drones, called Shooting Stars, to hopefully replace firework shows.
Weighing in at only 280 grams or less than the weight of a volleyball, the Intel Shooting Star drone is constructed with a soft frame made of flexible plastics and foam and contains no screws. The quadcopter’s propellers are also protected by covered cages – all features designed to ensure the drone is safe to fly, is splash-proof and can fly in light rain.
The American Pyrotechnics Association estimates that the U.S. fireworks industry rakes in more than a billion dollars in revenue per year and Americans purchase 285.3 million pounds of the novelty explosives annually. Around 3.5 injuries occur per 100 pounds of fireworks sold.
MarketWatch puts those numbers into perspective:
Small-town holiday fireworks displays typically cost about $2,000 to $7,000 for a basic show, according to Premier Pyrotechnics, while the city of Houston spent an estimated $100,000 on its 2016 Fourth of July fireworks show, according to Houston Business Journal. On a grander scale, estimates suggest Macy’s Inc. M, -0.11% may spend $6 million on its annual Fourth of July fireworks show.
A recent study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that perchlorate contamination in the waters of Oklahoma Lake rises up to 1,028 times above background levels within 14 hours of the July 4 public firework displays held in the US each year. In high doses the chemical is thought to affect the development of the central nervous system in children. A Chinese study found air pollution levels five times higher than normal in Beijing during the 2006 lantern festival, in which fireworks explode around the city.
But it’s not like these quadcopter alternatives come without dangerous possibilities. In all seriousness, the Fourth of July is a prime day for terrorism so Intel and any other company better have their cyber security locked up tight.