Record Setting Drone Animation
Written by Lucy Black   
Sunday, 24 January 2021

China already holds the record for having the largest number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones as we prefer to call them, airborne simultaneously. Now it has added longest duration of drone animation to its list of World Records.

drone animation

The details, according to Guinness World Records, are:

The longest animation performed by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is 26 min 19 sec and was achieved by EFYI Group (China) and supported by Tianjin University (China) in Tianjin, China, on 18 December 2020.

600 UAVs performed an animation titled “A Tribute to Van Gogh” (致敬梵高). The first image of the animation appeared at 2:01:00 am and the last image stopped at 2:27:19 am. The drone weighs 1.45kg. All drones are the same model and in the same size.

This YouTube video from New China TV has the highlights of the animation which told the life story of Dutch, post-impressionist painter, Vincent van Gogh.

You may be asking, Why van Gogh? Perhaps simply because his life and work can be summed up in a few easily recognizable images such as sunflowers and swirls. And you have to remember that there is a thriving cottage industry in producing reproduction paintings based on his work. 

Intel was the first holder of a Guinness World Record for drones. As we reported back in 2016, see Modern Fireworks - 100 Drones Break The Record a show to the sound of a symphony orchestra playing Beethoven's 5th claimed a Guinness World record for the number of UAVs flying simultaneously. This record was surpassed by Intel in December 2017 when it filmed its planned contribution to the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea using 1,218 drones gave it a new entry for “most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously.” It was a good thing that this prerecorded show was available since due to adverse weather conditions the Olympic committee, which has already stipulated a maximum of 300 drones, cancelled any live display for the opening ceremony. Leading Harry Fairhead to comment:

Drone formations are clearly not going to be as robust to weather conditions as a good old fashioned firework display.

But technology moves on and now drones are increasingly being regarded as superior to fireworks, not only for the scale of the spectacle, but also for the potential for dramatic and artistic effect. 

Even though I'm an avid fan of firework display, in my recent report Drones For Hogmanay I described the show, which took place over three consecutive evenings culminating on New Year's Eve 2020, as the most effective display I've seen.  

As previously mentioned, when it comes to number of drones controlled in a display it is again China that currently holds the record. The Intel record of 1218 drones was first broken in May 2019, when Ehang, based in Guangzhou, was offered 10.5 million yuan (about $1.6 million) to put on a Labour Day show over Xi’an’s 600-year-old city wall. The display used 1374 of its drones but, while it took the Guinness World Record, it was also described as "an epic fail" by the South China morning post whose video records drones falling out of the sky, see It's Raining Drones - Display Of 1374 Breaks The Record. This record was superseded in September 2020 by Shenzhen Damoda Intelligent Control Technology, also based in Guangzhou. It flew 3051 UAVs of two types, but only for just over one minute - making the almost half-hour display achieved by EFYI Group all the more impressive. 


More Information

Longest animation performed by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 25 July 2021 )