Photo: Taiwan Drone 100 assisted Samsung Taiwan
For Taiwan Drone 100, a startup which has wowed audiences with its group flying performances, content design is crucial.
According to its founder Alias Li, Chinese drone providers can conduct the world’s largest drone performances, using more than 5,000 drones. However, Taiwan Drone 100’s goal is not to achieve bigger numbers, but to open up the niche market through content design.
Recently, Li’s team has collaborated with dancers to create a new dancing experience between humans and machines at the southern branch of Taiwan’s National Palace Museum. In 2021, Taiwan Drone 100 won an award for best performance by up to 1,000 drones at the 2nd International Drone Show Competition hosted by Latvian drone software company SPH Engineering.
The company was founded in 2019 by Li, a PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics from National Cheng Kung University (NCKU). He’s also currently on the executive committee of UAS-Taiwan (unmanned aircraft systems). In the beginning, the company was designing and assembling drones on its own. Now, the focus is on flight control software and communications equipment design.
The company has around 40 employees. The focus is still on the Taiwan market, but the hope is that in the future, it can reach foreign markets. The 2022 revenue is estimated to reach NT$100 million (US$3.16 million) with a gross profit of around NT$30 million. Although the fleet costs are a bit high initially, the damage rate is low: 99% of the drones can be recovered after a performance.
Photo: Taiwan Drone 100 CEO Alias Li (left) and CTO Po-Chih Tsai. Credit: Alias Li.
Taiwan Drone 100 CEO Alias Li (left) and CTO Po-Chih Tsai
Photo: Alias Li.
The technological prowess beneath the visual feast
In an interview by DIGITIMES Asia, Li stated that group flying emphasizes precise location and communications technology. Regular GPS navigation can deviate by 3-5 meters, but such a margin of error is not allowed in drone performances as each machine is only about one meter apart. Thus, increasing the precision of the location technology is needed to avoid crashes.
To do so, the team uses the real-time kinematic (RTK) location system. Each drone must be equipped with an RTK receptor. During the performance, there will be staff and operators on the ground, as well as equipment such as computers, base stations, and Internet connections.
The base stations will continue to upload adjustment signals to each drone to ensure that the deviation is kept within 10-15 cm. Data transmission is done via 4G, LTE, 5G, or an industrial Wi-Fi system. Meanwhile, the drones will send back data to the computers as well. The operators on the ground must always monitor the location, route, and battery of each machine. In addition, the team has also developed a cloud platform for instant and remote monitoring.
In the early days, people developed communication between drones. When one drone encountered an issue, another will let it pass first. However, this method is not suitable for group flying, as a single drone’s issue can affect the entire group. Now, companies that do drone performances will first plan the flight routes and speeds via computer animation software. Then, they will check the results with AI programs and input them into each individual machine before the performance.
Is there a cap for the number of drones used in each performance? Li said that the cap depends on the client’s budget. Currently, his team has around 1,600 drones from three different system generations. They can simultaneously control about 500-600 units. In a performance of 500 drones, it requires 2-3 main control operators and around a dozen ground staff.
Photo: Taiwan Drone 100 assisted Samsung Taiwan in promoting its latest flagship phone. Credit: Alias Li.
Taiwan Drone 100-assisted Samsung Taiwan promotional event.
Photo: Alias Li.
Is drone logistics feasible?
Regarding drone applications in logistics, Li believes that in Taiwan, it’s expected to only be used in remote regions or specific areas. For instance, the Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration can use drones to deliver documents across the lake. This route is not only simple but also increases work efficiency.
If drones are to be used in delivery, there cannot be large trees or high-voltage cables near the building. The operator’s skill is also a factor, as drones can be lost. International corporations like Amazon and DHL have been developing drone logistics for years, but it’s mostly still in the experimental stage. Despite all that, drone logistics technology is still worth pushing.
Besides performances, Taiwan Drone 100’s drones are also already adopted by different public departments. They assist in missions like police/fire investigations, bridge patrol, air pollution detection, and more. Teams can customize the drones based on the mission, equipping them with cameras or specific sensors.

source

Shop Sephari