COVID-19 drone light show

They’re not fireworks: COVID-19 drone light show honors workers, victims

It’s Fourth of July, and fireworks shows across the nation have been cancelled in the wake of coronavirus shaking the entire world.

But across the pond in Spain, the skies are getting a literal symbol of hope. Of course it’s not necessarily honoring the Fourth of July, but it’s honoring something the entire planet is fighting against: coronavirus.

A drone company based in Spain called UMILES Group spent June sending 40 pre-programmed drones with LED lights attached to them into the night sky over the city of Madrid in a drone light show. The 10-minute long aerial ballet was designed to remember people who died due to COVID-19, as well as to honor emergency service workers like hospital workers, police officers and ambulance personnel. As part of the show, drones flew in the formation of words like “Hope” or “Heroes,” and in shapes like a heart.

Spain was one of the first countries to be dramatically hit by COVID-19. The country has among the highest infection rates of all the countries in the European Union, and the country imposed one of the strictest lockdown measures. Globally, more than a half a million deaths due to coronavirus have been reported to the World Health Organization. More than 100,000 deaths are attributed to the U.S.

The team behind the show, UMILES, does a variety of drone operations, ranging from commercial services like photogrammetry, precision agriculture and infrastructure inspections, to entertainment-related projects like drone racing and these light shows.

Documented drone light shows date back to as early as 2012 — that’s even before the first DJI Phantom drone went on sale. They largely broke into the public eye after Intel started producing light shows, beginning with a Guinness World Record-production of 500 drones in the sky for a demonstration in Germany, and growing into major productions like a Super Bowl halftime show featuring Lady Gaga lit by drones, and shows at theme parks including Disney World and Universal Studios.

Watch the COVID-19 drone light show here:

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