Coddington, Hicks & Danforth

Drones: the good, bad and the ugly

Unless you are living under a rock, you have noticed the rapid increase in popularity of drones in recent years. The use of these small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) has become so common that drones are sold not only in specialty stores, but also big box stores. They can be easily purchased online -- by anyone.

Let's look at some positive uses for drones as well as some negative impacts and outcomes that may occur.

The good

Drones can go where people sometimes cannot. For example:

  • A drone can be deployed to assess an emergency situation, such as a burning building, with the camera-equipped drone flying in to see if anyone is trapped and needs rescue.
  • Farmers can use drones to check on crops and even to conduct crop dusting.
  • Drones are used to deliver goods, including necessities like food and medicine, particularly in remote areas. Amazon unveiled a new division in 2016 called Amazon Prime Air with trials that aim to deliver orders to customers within 30 minutes.

The bad

Anyone can purchase a drone. And although many people will respect the rights and property of others, some will not. Some people may have ill intentions; others may not care about invading someone else's privacy.

Additionally, drones can damage someone else's property, or breakdown while flying over private airspace. This could create issues of retrieval and consequences if laws have been broken.

The ugly

Drones can be operated in ways that are "sneaky." These stealth machines have the potential to operate undetected. This creates concern in several areas, including giving the ill-intended the ability to:

  • Spy on people in their own homes.
  • Stalk someone, including taking pictures and video without permission.
  • Deliver harmful substances.
  • Drones could even be used for such things as corporate espionage and terror.

As you can see from just these few examples, the potential afforded by drone usage is as immense as the cause for concern about drone use is real. And in any case, people who purchase and operate drones are responsible for knowing the laws about proper use. The full implications of the widespread use of drones will only be known as time goes on.

What good, bad or ugly uses do you foresee in drones?

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