A royal salute: Hundreds of Drones create a giant image of Sheikh Mohammed in the sky

Humans are wired to react to powerful visual representations. And when that imagery is iconic, the impact can be profound. How iconic? How about 300 drones flying in perfect formation in the sky to pay tribute to a visionary leader and spread a message of universal human fraternity? Commemorating the 2019 Year of Tolerance initiative, one such dramatic feat lit up the Dubai night sky, creating the image of a visionary leader and reinforcing a message of peace and tolerance.

On the night of the seventh of January this year, the sky over Dubai was the canvas for a memorable and spectacular display that instilled a message of universal tolerance and peaceful co-existence. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has spearheaded several initiatives in the service of a brighter tomorrow for all. In a world of divisions and turmoil, perhaps one of the most timely of these efforts is the decision by UAE to celebrate 2019 as the Year of Tolerance. To reinforce this message at the beginning of the year, and as a tribute to 50 years of HH Sheikh Mohammed’s service to the Emirate, about 300 drones carrying lights flew in perfect formation to form a giant image of Dubai’s leader above the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah(1).

After celebrating His Highness Sheikh Mohammed with a likeness of his face, the formation rearranged itself into a message thanking him, followed by a promotion of the UAE’s Year of Tolerance, in Arabic. This spectacular feat of precise co-ordinated control across hundreds of individual devices lasted for ten minutes, which also included assuming a formation in the image of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

The Dubai administration has initiated a multi-faceted agenda, with the ambition to make the city a world-leader in Smart City technologies. Apart from a focus on infrastructure and services, the emphasis has been on transforming into a future-ready and people-centric global metropolis.

Dubai’s leadership has embraced a vision that establishes happiness, wellbeing and a call for universal tolerance at the core of its vision. And this vision has been balanced with an aggressive and ambitious ICT plan that includes mainstreaming of next-gen technologies like AI, Blockchain, and IoT.

A picture paints a thousand words

Gemini Property Developers CEO Sunil Gomes believes that creation of the iconic image using drones over Dubai’s skyline was a fitting tribute to a visionary leader who epitomises the balance of a progressive technology-led vision of growth with traditional values and tolerance. Sunil is of the opinion that choosing such a captivating way to reiterate an inspiring message will have a deep and lasting impact on public consciousness. The collective use of hundreds of drones in perfect coordination – which is a very cutting edge application of these flying gadgets – also celebrates a commitment to using empowering technologies. Sunil feels the whole event is true to Dubai’s spirit of innovation, doing things differently, and setting World Records!

Empowering a progressive and tolerant future

The spectacular display, created by the precision flight of 300 drones, in perfect formation, has been recognised as a Guinness World Record for the most consecutive formations by unmanned aerial vehicles. By choosing to highlight the commencement of the Year of Tolerance through an unprecedented feat of engineering, the administration furthered the UAE’s collective inspiration to embrace technology. At the same time, the move also underscores the pride and enthusiasm that the country has in being a dynamic and proactive early adopter of futuristic breakthroughs.

The 2019 Year of Tolerance initiative seeks to instil values of peace, mutual co-existence and cooperation for the common good. The UAE wants to take the lead, globally and within the region, in reinforcing these fundamental truths. The initiative is built around a focus on Five Pillars(2).

  • The first pillar aims to deepen the commitment of all cultures and peoples in these values by communicating them to the emerging generation of youth more effectively.
  • The second pillar focuses on making the UAE the global capital for tolerance, for which the country will be a host to a series of dialogues between various cultures.
  • The third of the five pillars will pursue numerous cultural programs, with the aim to empower the inherent human capacity to build a sense of community and a standard set of universally beneficial goals for the future.
  • The fourth pillar centres around legislation and policies that mandate adherence to cultural and religious tolerance among institutions and promotion of the same among communities.
  • The fifth and final pillar is concerned with promoting tolerance and co-existence through media initiatives.

Tribute to a visionary leading the way in building a harmonious world

His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision for Dubai and the world seeks to set happiness as a global agenda, promote a sense of oneness and a common good, and harness technology as an enabler to deliver compelling solutions. Sunil believes that Dubai is unique as a consistent trendsetter for new ideas and approaches to economic governance.  He feels that while the display created by the drones was impressive in itself, the ability of the messaging to layer several related statements so effectively was truly outstanding. Sunil congratulates the Dubai administration for choosing the perfect medium to deliver the eternal message that humanity is one family, while saluting the man behind this vision.   

  1. https://www.harpersbazaararabia.com/people/culture/hundreds-of-drones-create-a-giant-image-of-sheikh-mohammed-in-the-dubai-sky
  2. https://www.timeoutdubai.com/attractions/394039-dubai-creates-giant-image-of-sheikh-mohammed-in-the-sky-using-hundreds-of-drones

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