UAV software and hardware manufacturer Intel’s Natalie Cheung has lifted the lid on the company’s drone operations after it was placed centre stage at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Cheung, Intel’s Drone Light Show general manager, and her drone team just set their fourth Guinness World Record title at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, when they flew a fleet of 1,218 synchronised Intel Shooting Star drones in the air at once.
Cheung has revealed that she didn’t see herself managing drone light shows around the world when she joined Intel in 2011 as a systems engineer fresh out of MIT with a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science.
The future managing director was working as a research assistant to Krzanich when Intel acquired the drone company Ascending Technologies and together with her boss came up with the idea of flying 100 drones at the same time in front of an Intel building.
“My family didn’t get it at first,”Cheung said, “but then I had the chance to take them to Disney World where we were doing a Christmas light show. They got it when they saw it live. It was a really fun moment.”
Last summer, she flew to South Korea to pitch a drone show to Olympic officials. Before that, the team staged custom light shows for Lady Gaga’s 2017 NFL Super Bowl Halftime show, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and a special “Wonder Woman” event at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium.
“We are changing night-time entertainment. It’s the small things like that to make us want to expand drone light shows,” Cheung added.
Her team recently received a thank you message from a grateful father whose daughter suffers from a sensory processing disorder that prevents her from watching loud fireworks shows.