“Drones,” the universal term for unmanned aerial vehicles, were once simple backyard toys.
Now, companies like Amazon and UPS are studying ways to use them for delivering packages to customers.
Professional and amateur filmmakers use them for overhead shots that once required more expensive helicopters. Municipalities use them to reassess property values. Scientists use them to track environmental changes.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, some 7 million drones will be sold in 2020, compared to 2.5 million last year. Some of those have been purchased by law enforcement agencies who see them as a cheaper alternative to manned aircraft.
In Cecil County, Maryland, for example, a drone helped recover nearly 20 pieces of construction equipment stolen from Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
In that case, police obtained search warrants before using the drones.
But Maryland –