Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), drones or “quadcopters” were originally developed for military reconnaissance, but gained increased public attention when they were proposed as useful vehicles for residential deliveries of small packages. While such applications are still under careful scrutiny by aviation regulators, drones are becoming more portable and affordable, and are finding increased usage in a variety of civil and commercial uses, including rural land surveying and “bird’s-eye-view” videography. As a result, despite being under federal jurisdiction, the expanded use of drones is sure to raise a number of local issues.

For example, not only can drones be employed as surveillance tools for security companies and law enforcement agencies, but they might also be used for cost-effective property inspections by individual homeowners and condo corporations. As a result, neighboring residents could very well feel uneasy about being in the sight lines of a remote-controlled flying device with a camera – especially if they don’t know its purpose or its operator. So, if you become aware of drones operating in your community, ask your local authorities about how they are being monitored, and what rules should be enforced.