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    When Swarms of Drones Invaded SXSW

    Written by

    Brian Anderson

    Features Editor

    Photos by Andrew White

    We've seen what all you street walkers at South by Southwest look like on drones. (You look great.) We've considered the risks that come along with flying drones in Austin, a key battleground in the domestic drone debate. But nothing quite prepared us for what would happen when a veritable swarm of mini drones invaded VICELAND for Drone Day, a think-y, hands-on happening we threw in partnership with Oblivion, the upcoming sci-fi flick starring Tom Cruise as a drone repairman. 

    No matter how much planning we put into it, no matter how many times we assured ourselves that everything is going to be OK, we too got flashes of the fear so characteristic of today's drone misconceptions, only flipped against some serious odds. Were we being watched? Would it all go off alright? Would we get shut down? 

    Expect more post-mortems in the coming days, but for now, here's what our drone blowout, which took place earlier this week, looked like from the ground.

    Some pre-show buzz. That's Justin Edwards, an Austin-based aerial photographer, and his s800 hexacopter on the far left. Foregrounded in the beige jacket is Gene Robinson, who heads up the non-profit RP SearchServices.

    See that drone? It runs on gesture control. The future of small-fry drones is literally in your hands, you Jedi, you.  

    Gene with glider.  

    They say if you stare too long into the rotor blur...

    Pay no mind to that drone.

    Just prior to being heckled.

    Roundtable during a clip from Drone On. R to L: Motherboard editor Alex Pasternack, Justin Edwards, Chris Sanz (DroneGames, Skycatch), Gene Robinson, Trevor Timm from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Motherboard editor Brian Anderson. 

    These folks don't seem to have the fear. Maybe it was the free beer?

    Non-lethal drones, bringing young lovers together since... well, now.  

    Reach Brian at brian@motherboard.tv. @thebanderson / @VICEdrone

     

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