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The Big Future: How will drones change the skies?

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The sky may look very different in a few decades. This week’s Big Future takes a look at how the world will change as drone technology spreads, filling the world’s rooftops and skies. Tech giants like Amazon and Google are testing them out as delivery robots, but those early implementations are just scratching the surface.

TBF Drones

A flying security guard

Companies like Skycatch are currently developing drones that could act as automated guard dogs. When a motion detector is triggered, the drone would take flight and check out the scene, beaming back a live video feed so you can decide whether to follow up with a call to the police or even an onboard weapon.

TBF Drones 2

An eye in the sky

The Supreme Court has ruled that citizens have no expectation of privacy when it comes to aerial filming — so for the time being, camera drones are fair game. It’s easy to imagine tabloids using them as propeller-powered paparazzi, tasked to follow a celebrity’s every move around town.

TBF Drones 3

Be the drone

Things really get wild when you start to combine drones with virtual reality. Add an Oculus Rift to a quadcopter with an HDMI output and you can experience a drone’s-eye-view of a race over a raging river or inside an active volcano.