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The Amazing Uses of Drones

By Peter Clarke, JD on May 31, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.

Drones really have become the next big thing. Their uses seem to keep multiplying each day. With each new use there are new questions about drone regulations.

Of course, we hear about military payloads being delivered by drones on very specific targets. Indeed, the recent motion picture, Eye in the Sky, is all about when it is appropriate to use drones for military attacks. Drones also can be used for surveillance purpose. They are very nimble, and they easily can take footage surreptitiously of unsuspecting subjects. This also was portrayed in Eye in the Sky.

New Uses for Drones

Aside from military uses for drones, there are nearly endless ways that businesses and hobbyists have been making use of drones. For example, there have been reports that Amazon has been considering using drones for the delivery of purchased products to customers. Also,drones now are be used in the film industry. Shots that used to be taken from planes and helicopters now can be handled much easier and cheaper by drones.

Did you know the drones also have been used to chase geese away off of certain lands and have been enlisted to protect endangered species in specific areas? It's true!

Drones also have been sent in the vicinity of volcanic eruptions and into the eyes of tornadoes so that we can witness remotely these natural phenomena without risk to human life.

Moreover, drones have been used for mischief to spray paint graffiti onto certain billboards that would not otherwise be reachable.

And last, but not least, drone combat leagues are forming. These drones can "play chicken" in the sky and taunt one another with the possibility of one drone bringing another one down.

We are just starting to witness the myriad potential uses of drones. Hold on tight, and fasten your seatbelt -- it's going to be an interesting and hopefully not too bumpy ride with drones going forward. Although there are still a million unanswered questions in the legal field about drones, at least we are starting to have a clearer picture of federal drone registration regulations.

Eric Sinrod (@EricSinrod on Twitter) is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please email him at with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.

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