Loss of GPS signal grounded NDP drones

The drone display was cut from the NDP Preview 1 show last Saturday.
The drone display was cut from the NDP Preview 1 show last Saturday.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

A problem with the Global Positioning System of the largest-ever drone display at the National Day Parade (NDP) Preview 1 last Saturday led to it being cut from the show that night.

The skies above the waters at Marina Bay were supposed to light up with seven different formations created by 300 Shooting Star drones, developed by US tech firm Intel. However, a loss of GPS signal that night meant that the drones were unable to take off according to plan.

"During the National Day Parade Preview 1 on July 22, the drone performance did not take place as there was an unexpected loss of GPS signal in the drones' performance area," the NDP 2017 Executive Committee said in a statement yesterday.

The Straits Times understands that NDP organisers and Intel are working to resolve the issue.

The drone show is scheduled for Act 5 of the show segment of NDP 2017. It made its debut in the third National Education show on July 15, where it performed according to plan.

The 300 drones fly in pre-determined formations, created by the NDP team ahead of the show. They are all controlled by computers running software that automatically calculates the number of drones needed, how each drone should be positioned relative to others, and the fastest route from ground to sky needed for the formation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2017, with the headline 'Loss of GPS signal grounded NDP drones'. Print Edition | Subscribe