A series of images showing drones forming the shape of a QR code over London’s river Thames on April 26, 2023.
Drones traced weird patterns in the London sky on Wednesday for no clear reason.
At one point they formed into a QR code linking to the site of an insurance company.
Such QR codes are not a regular sight, but have been deployed before in China.
An unusual sight appeared over London’s river Thames on Wednesday night — a flying purple QR code without obvious explanation.
The code appeared to be formed of several hundred drones, which arranged themselves into a few shapes before settling into a large, scannable image, which hovered for around 20 seconds.
—Kieran Corcoran (@kj_corcoran) April 27, 2023
The code was a hyperlink to this URL, a marketing page for the insurance company Beazley. Their website uses a similar shade of purple to the light from the drones.
Insider tried a few times to contact Beazley but did not immediately get a response.
There have been drone shows over the Thames before, usually to mark an event. The city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations on December 31, 2021 and 2022 both featured drones.
But this one had no obvious explanation.
London is preparing for the pageantry of King Charles III’s coronation on May 6, with some rehearsals happening under the radar, including a full military parade near Buckingham Palace in the dead of night.
But, beyond the general timing, nothing links the drones to that. The drones were also active on Tuesday night, per video posted to Twitter.
Insider also contacted the Port of London Authority, which regulates drone flights over the Thames. A spokesperson said they were aware of the drone flight and would be able to provide more information on Friday.
Flying QR codes are not a frequent sight in the UK, but have been deployed elsewhere in the world, including in Shanghai, China, in 2021.