This film wasn't just shot entirely with drones, but with drones on autopilot

Drones have aided in search and rescue attempts, recorded history unfolding, and explored the skies — and now, they’re telling a love story, and all without a human operator directing the flight pattern. In the Robot Skies, the first fiction film shot entirely by autonomous drones, is expected to debut at the London Film Festival on Oct. 8.

Directed by Liam Young and written by Tim Maughan, the film uses drones to record the story while simultaneously treating the unmanned aerial vehicles themselves as a cultural object — much as the subway created hip hop and graffiti, the video’s creators explained.

In the movie’s science fiction society, two teenagers are confined by police and a network of security drones. The unmanned aerial vehicles identify and track people, and using the on-board computer systems, identify antisocial behavior, categorizing which numbered citizens are societal risks. Using hacked drones, the two teens find ways to communicate with each other as the quadcopter becomes not just a security tool but a way to fall in love.

But drones play a big role in more than just the film’s storyline. The production team collaborated with the Embedded and Artificially Intelligent Vision Lab in Belgium to program camera drones with a set of cinematic rules — essentially, the entire movie was shot with autonomous drones that follow a set of rules without human input. Of course, programming the drones involved human input to create a different set of rules for creating different camera effects, but the automated video operation is impressive regardless.

The film isn’t director Liam Young’s first shot at using drones either. A self-described speculative architect, he also collaborated in the exhibit “Under Tomorrows Sky” (yes, the apostrophe is missing intentionally) on what cities of the future might look like, and “City of Drones,” another conceptual piece of art.

Produced using drones supported by DJI, the production team released a trailer yesterday. With the debut scheduled for the London Film Festival, there’s no word yet on how (or if) the film will be widely distributed.

Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Cars

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.
Movies & TV

Epic sci-fi novels you should read before they become blockbuster films

You can get ahead of the next crop of science-fiction movies coming out of Hollywood by picking up the books that inspired them. We compiled a list of books you can add to your reading list now to get a glimpse of the future.
Emerging Tech

Scientists debate mysterious flash of light in space, known as ‘The Cow’

On June 16, 2018 there was an unusual flash in the sky which puzzled astronomers around the world. NASA researchers have been collecting data on the event and have shared two competing theories for what could have caused it.
Emerging Tech

Brightest quasar ever seen discovered by Hubble, may be star-producing machine

The brightest quasar even seen has been observed with the Hubble Space Telescope using a technique called strong gravitational lensing. The quasar is enormously energetic and may be producing thousands of stars per year.
Emerging Tech

Watch China’s moon mission touch down on the planet’s far side

Video has been shared of a lander's-eye view of China's Chang'e 4 mission touching down in the Von Kármán Crater on the far side of the moon. The craft captured footage of the descent with a camera which was attached to the probe.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX nails its first launch and landing of 2019, but job cuts loom

SpaceX has nailed its first launch and landing of 2019 with a mission that deployed more satellites for Virginia-based Iridium Communications. But the success was soured somewhat by reports of upcoming job losses at the company.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers for 2019

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

The enormous ‘Flying Bum’ moves toward a commercial design

A prototype of the world's largest aircraft is being retired as the company behind it prepares to build a production model. The new Airlander 10, also known as the "Flying Bum," could be ready for commercial use by 2025.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.