A hovercam bearing the USA Today logo (on the right) takes the photo for the front page headline story of the next day's issue.


Doc hacks into the hovercam.

"There! I did it! Doctor Emmett Brown here. Please pardon the crudity of my broadcast signal, but I'm coming to you from the year 2015. I've managed to re-wire this hovercam, so I can beam transmissions to you people back in the present..."
—Doc in 2015
"Doc pulled out his binocular card to get a better look at the [damaged] courthouse, and what looked to Marty like a robot, with a USA Today logo on its back, taking a picture of the wreckage. Marty realized that very photo must be the one that appeared in the new version of tomorrow's newspaper — the version they had right in front of them. But that was weird. How could something change when it hadn't happened yet? Marty decided he still didn't understand this time travel business at all!"
—From Back to the Future Part II by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, page 55)

Hovercams were flying robotic cameras used in 2015 to hover to locations of news stories and report on them in live time.


The hovercams were capable of generating a story in a short period of time via the use of Compu-Fax.

One hovercam was present at the Hill Valley Courthouse on October 21, 2015, where it took the photograph for the next day's USA Today front page headline story GANG JAILED - Hoverboard Rampage Destroys Courthouse, in which Griff Tannen and his gang were carted off by the police for vandalism of public property — as well as quoting Griff's loud exclamation of "I was FRAMED!" at the scene.

Even though it was (naturally) not able to be seen, Dr. Emmett Brown hacked into a hovercam to talk to the time travel volunteers at the Institute of Future Technology in 1991.

In the early 1990s, Doc had a similar camera which he used to record his video encyclopedia.

Behind the scenes[]

  • Back to the Predictions refers to hovercams as Photographer Drones.[1]


Usa-today1-jpg 1445454361

Drones had become commonplace by 2015, but USA Today built one bearing its logo in time for the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future to be sure this prediction came true.

  • Small remotely piloted multicopters (typically called "drones") mounting gimballed digital camera platforms are widely available consumer items in 2015.[2] Drones can be flown by unskilled users using software on personal computers, tablets or smartphones, navigate autonomously via GPS and relay live video over a wireless data link. Drones have been used by citizen journalists to obtain aerial footage of news events. However, their use can be problematic if they are flown in such a way to cause nuisance or hazard to civil or police aircraft.[3] The FAA is proposing that privately owned drones be subject to registration.[4]
  • Commercially available 'recreational' drones are typically battery-powered with flight times measured in minutes, which limits their utility in news gathering. Larger versions with longer flight endurance, termed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are used by first responders and the military — one example being the Aeryon Scout.
  • The level of artificial intelligence to allow a hovercam to identify interesting news events and report on them autonomously does not presently exist.


See also[]


  1. Photographer Drones - Back to the Predictions (see 'External links' below)
  2. DJI Enterprise (see 'External links' below)
  3. Drone flying over forest fires diverts planes, costs US Forest Service $10K - Ars Technica, June 26, 2015 (see 'External links' below)
  4. Federal regulators to require registration of recreational drones - The Washington Post, October 19, 2015 (see 'External links' below)

External links[]