Before the word drone was commonplace, and quadcopters were everywhere at CES, Brendan Schulman was a model airplane fan, building and flying all kinds of craft in his spare time. Eventually his passion began to overlap with his profession as a lawyer, putting him at the forefront of several landmark cases in the world of unmanned aviation. That led to a job as the VP of Policy and Legal Affairs at DJI, the world's largest consumer drone manufacturer. He took some time off from charming politicians to have a chat at our CES lounge.
There have been a ton of changes to the regulatory landscape in the US over the last year. The FAA rolled out its plans to create a new standard for commercial drones and now requires every consumer who is flying a drone to register with the government. Schulman gave us his take on why the model aircraft community is challenging the new rules, and how those challenges might play out in court.
He also tried to tease out the way sensational journalism might end up stifling the drone industry. Schulman argues that while drones have saved far more lives than they have taken in the last year, the press tend to focus on crashes and privacy scares. Oh, and he talked a little bit about the near future, where a drone might walk your dog. And yes, in his legal opinion, it would still be obligated to scoop the poop.