Commercial use of drones is on the rise, with companies like Amazon (which recently filed a patent for a “flying warehouse”) positioning themselves at the forefront of the field. The challenge is to capitalise on drones’ commercial and technological potential, whilst navigating a complex and developing area of law.

UK regulation is comparatively flexible, although the Civil Aviation Authority implements some key restrictions (dependent on drone size and location) and additional technical complexities may arise due to Ofcom’s requirement to avoid radio frequency interference. Businesses will also need to consider the privacy and data protection implications of their drone operations (particularly in densely populated areas) and insurance and liability exposure, in relation to damage to persons or property caused by drones.