Injury to persons and property damage are very real concerns arising out of the use of drones, and these concerns will become more acute as the use of drones expands to include routine freight delivery and point-to-point transport of people in high-density population environments.

The extensive and increasing use of drones also raises very serious privacy issues and concerns around data collection and use especially given the intrusive potential of drones equipped with cameras and surveillance capability, which are now readily available to the public. The protection of privacy is considered one of the most contentious issues that communities around the world will need to manage as drone use increases.

Other real drone risks of a non-safety nature include potential damages arising from private law claims (for example, such as trespass, nuisance, invasion of privacy) and possible damage to a company’s goodwill or reputation.

The applicability and effectiveness of existing torts to drones is discussed, and an overview of dedicated statutory causes of action is provided.