Drones have proven to be very useful for aerial photography and cinematography, which are certainly artistic endeavors. But we don’t often think of them as tools for actually creating art. Most people tend to consider drones as either expensive toys, or practical tools for jobs like surveying. To prove that drones are capable of directly producing art, the Urban Flying Opera (UFO) project used a fleet of them to spray-paint a massive 46 x 39 foot mural.
The mural itself is a collection of 100 crowd-sourced line drawings chosen from 1,200 artist submissions that were collected with an app. Those 100 drawings were then mashed together to form the single piece of art that would become the mural. It’s important that these were line drawings, because they translate well to simple paths that the drones could follow. In total, four quadrotor drones built by Tsuru Robotics were used to paint the mural over the course of 12 hours.
Each of those drones was equipped with a specially-developed spray painting mechanism. The entire mural was painted using just three colors: black, cyan, and red. A central computer was used to coordinate the actions of each drone to ensure that they didn’t collide with each other, and that each one only painted a specific portion of the mural. The art style is intentionally doodle-centric, but the finished mural still looks fantastic. More importantly, it proves that drones are a valid tool for producing art.