Drawing up the Future of Drones

Drone

Amazon has submitted a patent for aerial delivery drones that are able to track the recipient by their smartphone’s GPS. Already news outlets are hypothesizing how creepy this will be, with a horde of drones stalking customers to deliver them their box set of Game of Thrones.

Right now, Google and Amazon are the two companies primarily staking out drone us in the US, but inevitably the law will catch up as more smaller companies take to the skies. Here are a few problems that will have to be solved, and such solutions provide a possibility for entrepreneurs.

Drone Insurance

It seems obvious, and already companies are jumping to expand their businesses to include specialized insurance for aerial unmanned vehicles. Just Google “Aerial Drone Insurance.” The business will inevitably changes as cities and states begin to enact their own requirements for drone insurance—insurance for civilians and property injured or damaged by drones, and possibly insurance for damaging other drones. There are opportunities for businesses to offer drone insurance as well as for lawyers to specialize in relevant laws, existing and future.

Drone Zoning

In major metropolitan areas, drone traffic could increase to a point where cities enact regulations on how many drones can be present, what hours drones can operate, and possibly restrictions on where drones can operate. In large enough cities, one can imagine concerns about a mini Kessler Effect where the skies are too crowded with drones with many concerns about mid-air drone collisions. (There can’t be an actual Kessler Effect because debris doesn’t float this close to earth, it falls.) This leaves room for law firms to help have a guiding hand in crafting legislation that strikes a balance between private and public interests.

Additional Drone Services

Drones are ideal for delivering all manner of products, not just those sold by Amazon and Google. With apps like Eat24 and Grubhub popular, it makes sense that such apps could make use of drones—they could either develop their own or outsource their drones to a third party.

Moreover, computers aren’t always the best at plotting routes or dealing with unstable conditions. There’s a market space for companies that have actual humans manning drones, for areas that have regular bouts of inclement but navigable weather or for cargoes that are time sensitive or have a very particular place they need to be delivered (such as drones carrying urgent medical supplies, to hospitals or emergency areas).

Not only will drones drastically affect the legal landscape, but they will also change the landscape of what we expect from companies and our skies. If the internet was the Wild West of the 90s, we’re now entering the Wild West of the skies. For better or for worse, the skies will be tamed and legislated, so it’s better to become involved in that process earlier rather than later.

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About DevonJ140
I am currently an Accounting Director living in New York City. I love reading and learning more about business, finance, tech, and current events.

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