Monday, February 22, 2016

Why You Haven't Seen Drones in Your Backyard

How much of your property do you really own? Before commercial airplanes were normalized in society, people owned the property “up to the heavens and down to hell” (Sneed), essentially anything above or below your house. However, times have changed and due to aviation, airspace has become a quite crowded and contested area. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) technically controls all of the airspace down to the soil, however, it doesn’t own this property. With the popularity of unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs) or drones skyrocketing, a lot of questions have been raised as to where the line is drawn. Last summer a man in Kentucky shot down a drone that was hovering approximately 200 feet above his backyard. He was arrested but cleared of any charges and the judge declared “He had the right to shoot this drone” (Sneed). However, what if the drone had been 300 or even 400 feet above his yard? Local legislators across the country are passing their own anti-drone policies such as in Oregon where landowners are allowed to sue if a person enters their property airspace at altitudes below 400 feet more than once without permission. At the end of the day, the FAA’s say triumphs local legislation, however, one can clearly see the problems with the increasing popularity of drones.
At the commercial level, companies like Amazon and FedEx have begun experimenting with drones for home delivery. With the utilization of robots and drones, Amazon would be able to offer some products within minutes of being ordered, revolutionizing customer convenience as their products would be dropped off right on their front porch. However, Amazon’s Prime Air comes with a lot of skeptics as the drawbacks and shortcomings of drones seem to outweigh any benefits the company would derive from them. For example, issues such as delivering heavy items, delivering to apartment buildings, thieves taking packages and drones themselves, drones being hacked into, low airspace collisions, adverse weather, and a host of other problems (Paul). CEO Jeff Bezos explained that the unmanned aircraft could deliver packages from several miles away and that their state-of-the-art “sense and avoid” technology would prevent drones from colliding with other things in the air upon landing in the delivery zones (Paur).
However, no matter how advanced the technology, as in the Kentucky case, nothing is going to stop someone from destroying one if they feel like their property rights are being infringed upon. Personally, I think drones have realistic implications for military, media, and recreational use; the media could utilize drone technology to capture breaking news from never before seen angles and the military could use drones for things like delivering supplies, in turn, taking humans out of potentially dangerous situations. However, I’m a little skeptical that everyone is going to be receiving their amazon packages from the sky. I don’t think the FAA has figured out exactly how to balance commercial company’s desires to streamline their delivery services and the public’s perception of robots flying over their backyard.


"Amazon Prime Air." YouTube. Amazon, 29 Nov. 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.

Paul, Frederic. "10 Reasons Amazon's Drone Delivery Plan Still
Won't Fly." Network World. N.p., 23 Mar. 2015. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.

Paur, Jason. "Why Amazon’s Drone Delivery Service Won’t Fly Any
Time Soon." Wired. N.p., Dec. 2013. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.

Sneed, Annie. "So Your Neighbor Got a Drone for Christmas." Scientific
American, n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.


  1. Over the last few years’ drones have been all over the news and are continuing to make headlines. With the case of the Kentucky man who shot down the drone, I do not think he was at fault for shooting the drone that was hovering over his yard. However, as drones become more popular and people become more aware of their use I do not think it will be acceptable to shoot down a drone flying above someone’s yard. The drones are starting to become a means of transportation for companies such as Amazon and FedEx. In this case these drones are harmless and are only carrying small packages. However, there are a lot of problems that could occur with drones. What if one malfunctions and falls to the ground and lands on something? What if a drone delivers the package to the wrong place? There are a lot of concerns with the growing popularity of drones. As technology continues to boom I believe that drones will become a popular means of transportation, therefore people are going to have to adapt to the idea of seeing them above their yards even if they do not necessarily enjoy the sight of drones.

  2. Since the emergence of drones as a recreational device to fly around, companies and government agencies have begin to see and test out their potentials. Even since their emergence years ago, the number of drones owned and used has seemed to increase. The military has looked into utilizing drones to deliver supplies to soldiers in remote, dangerous areas that could protect them from going to recieve supplies by their traditional means. I think that the vision that some of these companies have with the potential uses of drones are overstated. Drones have a limited flight distance which restricts their range of delivery. Additionally, a drone can only deliver one package at a time. Therefore, if you have two deliveries right next to each other, you would either have to have the drone take two trips or send out two drones. Even if you managed to have enough resources to have drones deliver every one of your packages, the air traffic would be ridiculous. There are so many packages delivered in the United States each day and I think Americans would be taken back if they saw a drone to match each one of those packages in the air. I think that the primary use of drones should remain to be for recreational use to simply take photos and videos.

  3. This was a very interesting blog for me to read, since I had read another report where someone blogged about drones as well. The other article discussed a different aspect of drones and how they got in the way of other vehicles in the air. This blog was interesting to read since I never thought of having drones as instruments used to deliver products and packages to people's doorsteps. While this is a very useful idea, it poses some concerns. For example, what happens if the drone stops working as it is in mid-air? The drone will then drop the package at the wrong place and therefore, customers will complain about the delivery of the package. In addition, drones could accidentally harm people or other objects. Overall, I agree with Brett with regard to the fact that drones should be used to take photos and videos. If they are involved in more complicated tasks, it seems to pose a bigger harm to the community.


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