Firework displays are a common sight at celebrations and festivals around the world. The Fourth of July in the United States, Diwali in India, Eid al-Fitr in Southeast Asia, Guy Fawkes Night in the United Kingdom, Bastille Day in France, Halloween in Ireland, the Fallas in Spain, and the Chinese New Year to name a few, all feature vibrant and colourful firework displays.
While fireworks have been the goto option for hundreds of years, technology is advancing rapidly and we now have a more futuristic and eco-friendly alternative to staging dazzling night sky shows — Drones.
Drones and drone light shows are now at our front door and offer us the possibility to digitise night sky displays. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of these little nimble unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with powerful LED lights can be launched hundreds of feet into the sky. These flying pixels can be looked at as a digital version of fireworks that can narrate magical stories in a green, reusable and non-polluting way.
Should drone light shows replace fireworks?
The simple answer is yes. Not only can drone light shows bedazzle us with spectacular displays, but they can also be reused and do not produce any chemical or noise pollution.
Today, cities and countries the world over are banning fireworks due to the many ill effects they have on the environment. Fireworks release highly toxic gases and pollutants into the air. Sometimes these poisonous gases stay in the air for days. Fireworks not only pollute the air, but they also pollute the water and soil, and cause a tremendous amount of noise pollution that frighten animals and birds. Fireworks are also a fire hazard and have been known to cause wildfires and damage to property.
Thousands of years ago, fireworks were invented in China. Today, however, more than 400 towns and cities in China have placed a ban on fireworks. The fact that strict regulations and bans are being enforced in China — the home of fireworks, says a lot. Although fireworks bring visual enjoyment to people, they also bring an indelible impact on the environment and health.
Are drone light shows the solution?
Drone light shows are an environmentally friendly alternative to light up the night sky. The same drone fleet can be reused at multiple events and they are chemical and noise pollution free. Drone light shows also offer the flexibility of being held indoors where a fireworks display is simply not feasible.
The drones for drone light shows are purpose-built and offer an almost infinite combination of movements and colours. The artistic possibilities achievable with drones are far greater than that of fireworks.
Visually, drone light shows are already outperforming fireworks with detailed and intricate patterns. As technology advances, the displays are only set to get bigger, brighter, richer and denser.
Humans have always looked to the sky in wonder and awe. From stargazing in our early history to modern firework displays, from aerial acrobatics of fighter jets to drone light shows, we are a species that love stories in the sky. Let’s, however, be responsible in how we consume this form of entertainment. It’s time we use the advances we have made in technology to help protect our environment. Its time we bid fireworks goodbye.