Put down the beer, avoid the dog park, and stay away from forest fires.
Drones are a marvelous new consumer technology, allowing the average person to take aerial photographs, make highly accurate maps and models, and generally have a grand old time—after all, we’re talking about having your very own flying robot. But there is danger here: Because drones are so new, our society has yet to form rules of etiquette and behavior around them.
This means that even the most well-meaning flying robot enthusiast may find themselves making grave etiquette errors—whether it’s flying over your neighbor’s private property without asking nicely first or showing up at someone’s wedding with a drone and assuming the bridal couple will be just as excited about it as you are.
I have compiled this list in the interest of helping drone users avoid behavioral gaffes and social embarrassments. After all, don’t you want you and your drone to get invited to more state dinners? In more-coarse and un-ladylike language: This list will help you avoid being a huge asshole when you’re out flying.
These suggestions are not just good manners. They are the right thing to do and will help ensure the safety of others and the continuing legality of drone technology. To quote the great Emily Post herself: “Etiquette must, if it is to be of more than trifling use, include ethics as well as manners.”
I’m thinking that the NTIA should get with the author, Faine Greenwood who is an assistant researcher at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, focusing on how drone technology can be used in humanitarian contexts. A mashup would be a strong and memorable combination.