Only a few years ago the price of a drone was so far out of the average household’s reach that you probably didn’t know anyone who owned one. Look around you now. You probably know many drone owners. In five years perhaps most people will own one. That’s because they have become smaller, cheaper, and are getting cheaper still.
Drones are not just a hobby. They serve many useful business purposes: Inspecting cellphone towers, shooting pictures for multidimensional real estate portfolios, maybe eventually even delivering pizza. But they can also be put to nefarious or negligent use: Snooping on people, following or harassing them, interfering with other aircraft.
Want to see a cool video? Watch this one of one drone capturing another:
Are we heading to a world of “star wars” with drones? Will drones be bumping into electrical wires, houses, cars and people? Will personal injury lawsuits involving drones become as common as auto accident lawsuits today? Only time will tell.
But the point is we cannot allow the skies to become the wild west. We need REGULATIONS. I know the “R” word is a dirty word to some people, especially a certain brand of Republican, but what options are there? We are a land of laws. The task for our regulators and law makers is to protect our privacy and safety without infringing (too much) with our liberties in the sky.
The Federal Aviation Administration has taken the lead (after all, these machines FLY). Just before Christmas, they promulgated a regulation requiring that drones be registered. Now they know who is flying what. But that’s just a start! The FAA has proposed rules to limit most drones flying beyond daylight hours and requiring commercial users of small drones to keep their aircraft within their sight. That may seem too restrictive to some, but it makes sense to me with this being a new technology, and given recent near collisions with helicopters and airplanes.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.