The government is currently working to regulate new autonomous technologies like self-driving cars, and unmanned aircraft are no exception. Instead of leaving it to the government, the drone industry has presented its own "Code of Conduct" that it claims will promote "safe, non-intrusive" use of such technology.
Citizens, organizations, and politicians all expressed privacy concerns following a law that requires the FAA to open domestic airspace to unmanned drones by 2015, and the drone industry looks to alleviate the problem by promising to "respect the privacy of individuals." The code, presented by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), is a vague list of promises that includes ensuring safety through proper pilot training, complying with federal, state, and local laws, and respecting the rights of other airspace users and citizens' privacy. The spirit of the code lies in the values of safety, professionalism, and respect, but there are no listed consequences for going against it, and a list of guidelines from the drone industry is far from legally binding.
About 300 organizations were actively licensed by the FAA to pilot drones at last count, and the Associated Press reports that the drone market is expected to nearly double in the next decade. Sounds like the world needs to figure out how to handle unmanned aircraft pretty soon.