Star Trek Into Darkness is coming to movie theaters soon, and to build up buzz—literally—the studio flew 30 quadrocopter drones, each equipped with bright LED lights, in a formation over nighttime London.
The event was timed to match up with Earth Hour. The lights on the drones were dimmed at 8:30 p.m. on March 23, just like other London landmarks were. The drone batteries were said to be charged by Austria's renewable energy electricity supply.
To stay in position as they flew in formation, each drone used GPS and talked to other drones and the ground controller using Wi-Fi radio signals.
Drone formation flying is something we've seen before, though usually in the controlled environment of a robotics lab. In the future, swarms of drones may be able to accomplish tasks that would be difficult, expensive or even impossible to do in other ways.