Risk, Product Liability Trends, Triggers, and Insurance in Commercial Aerial Robots
David K. Breyer, Donna A. Dulo, Gale A. Townsley, and Stephen S. Wu
The commercialization of autonomous aerial robots, “drones” will become pervasive and ubiquitous across the national airspace over the coming years resulting in an increasing risk potential for drone operators and manufacturers. The risk and liability to these entities is entirely unknown due to the lack of historical data on which to determine liability triggers and trends to facilitate the development of accurate insurance underwriting trends. Product liability questions as well remain unanswered with causes of action such as strict product liability,negligence, breach of warranty, and the violation of the law against unfair and deceptive trade practices looming in the near future against operators and manufacturers.This paper presents these issues in light of available risk and accident data, primarily centered on historical military accident data with current accidents and mishaps that have occurred in the national airspace. It will address these issues in the context of manned and unmanned systems with the unique insurance issues and product liability issues that will face commercial owners, operators and manufacturers of drones that seek to limit their risks of liability and damage exposure through the purchase of insurance with both domestic and Lloyd’s of London based markets being discussed.
Donna A. Dulo, Gale A. Townsley, and Stephen S. Wu will be speaking on the Panel on Domestic Drones on Saturday, April 5th at 3:15 PM at the University of Miami Newman Alumni Center with moderator F. Daniel Siciliano in Coral Gables, Florida.