Let’s face it, drones are making headlines every single day.
- Modern warfare has changed dramatically thanks to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Thanks to the hit TV show 24, drones have been highlighted in the popular media recently. Every day brings more information about how governments are investing heavily in drones to augment their military arsenals.
- With a remote control, and sometimes this can simply be a smartphone, regular citizens like you and I can pilot a small drone to do aerial photography. (Ever heard of “dronies“?)
- Industries such as agriculture, real estate, and even golf are using drones to do mapping, weather monitoring, and surveillance.
- Law enforcement agencies using drones for border patrol.
- Scientists measuring hurricane, tornado, or volcano activity using UAV.
- Jeff Bezos wants Amazon.com packages to be delivered via drones.
So, are you asking yourself “What is a drone?” If so, please read our full “What is a drone” primer here, as it will walk you through drone definition and explanation of various kinds of drones. As you’ll find, the term “drone” has a broad meaning.
Drone meaning – this article will try to make sense of what the influx of drones means to our world.
As of today, many industries see tremendous commercial advantages and opportunities to the inevitable proliferation of drones. This “flying technology” is becoming more and more affordable. Consumers and companies alike now have access to what was previously only science fiction. The applications and innovations available are endless.
With all these amazing possibilities come questions about ownership, rights, privacy, and the law. Take a look at some of the legal issues surrounding drones:
- The “ad coelum” rule. If someone flies a drone over your property, is that trespassing?
- General nuisance claims. What happens when someone says “get these out of my airspace?” Even the National Park Service is wondering.
- Taking claims. If the government flies drones over my private property, is that reducing the rights protected by the 5th Amendment?
- Anti-stalking or “Peeping Tom” complaints. It’s not hard to see how some “boys and their toys” might cause some trouble in this area.
There are significant questions about who truly governs the skies. The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) and state governments are moving steadily forward (while sometimes at odds with each other) to create statutes, laws, and ordinances to deal with drone law and rights. This will continue to be a ongoing effort, and likely, battle for ownership.