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A New Prototype Shows Drones Could Become Hovering, Annoying Billboards In The Very Near Future

The prototype is expected to be a glimpse of the future of advertising

As if there wasn’t enough concern about the privacy issues surrounding drone technology, now another troubling use for them has surfaced, and while it might not be as troubling, it’s potentially far more annoying.

Some tech-minded marketers have figured out that if you slap some LEDs on a drone, you’ve got yourself a mobile, hovering billboard that can follow crowds or individuals as they move.


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Here’s what such a drone looks could look like in its natural, static state:

NTT DOCOMO

Here’s what it looks like when it’s illuminated:

NTT DOCOMO

And here’s what it looks like while hovering and illuminated:

NTT DOCOMO

Sure, it’s depicting an innocuous globe in these photos, provided by the drone’s creators, Japanese telecom giant NTT DOCOMO, but the firm has been forthright about the opportunity to use the hovering low-res signage at sporting events, concerts, and festivals. The drone was developed for and will take flight at the Niconico Chokaigi festival this weekend. Barring a disaster on its maiden voyage, you can expect more frequent appearances in the coming months.

Of course, there will be myriad obstacles to releasing these flying monuments to commerce over rush hour traffic in American cities, but things are changing quickly, so don’t be surprised if an advertiser goes from following you online via cookies to following you in real life using a drone.

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