Drone show at National Day Parade preview grounded by GPS issues

The drone display was removed from the NDP Preview 1 show due to a loss in GPS signal.
The drone display was removed from the NDP Preview 1 show due to a loss in GPS signal. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - A problem with the Global Positioning System of the largest-ever drone display at the National Day Parade (NDP) Preview 1 on Saturday (July 22) led to it being cut from the show that night.

The skies above the waters at Marina Bay were supposed to light up in seven different formations created by 300 Shooting Star drones, developed by US tech firm Intel.

However, a loss in 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 on Wednesday (July 26).

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-formed 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.