Many people are now aware of drones or remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), and several others have predicted the significant impacts that drones will bring across society. Today, there is an expectation that drones will play a pivotal role in industries such as surveillance, security, surveying, construction, and freight transport. However, in all these cases, whenever a drone is flying over a populated area, it poses a danger to people or things on the ground. Perhaps the sector where the greatest risk of injury to the everyday person exists is the drone delivery industry. The drone freight industry is proliferating fast, with many companies like Skycart and Amazon investing in this sector. These companies plan to transport groceries, medical supplies, food, and par- cels, among many other things. If fleets of delivery drones are deployed around suburbs, the descent to lower altitudes and the general logistics of an airborne delivery presents a novel risk of harm. A drone failure resulting in a crash could lead to property damage, destruction of natural environments, and injury or death to persons, especially in areas of high population density. One promising way to prevent such harm is to use structural condition monitoring technology to preempt any deterioration of the airworthiness of a drone. In the absence of any existing precedent or authority on this, this Article investigates the legal implications of using such technology to guide future regulations and areas of research.
Prue Vines et al., Predicting Bearing Fault in the Drone Freight Industry: Legal Liability in Australia,
J. Air L. & Com.