I recently watched a Verge Youtube video starring Deadmau5 and during the video heard a good point being brought up. Owning a drone and flying one is not currently regulated, but will it ever be?
People have always had fears when it comes to new things and naturally people will want to put limits and regulate some of the new technology. The fact of the matter is that almost anyone with the time and money can learn to create a robot or drone through a simple web search. Similar to the regulations with guns where they can be sold and may require a license to buy or use them, the government can try to regulate the availability on the market of parts and sales of full devices. But it is vastly different in that the parts being used to make a drone are not specific to just drones and the ones that are can be easily 3D printed or fabricated (frame/blades). There are many applications for the motors, controller boards, batteries, etc. and people can buy the parts to make one quite easily.
The only thing that the government might be able to regulate are the flight patterns of long-range and non-hobbyist type drones. As scary as it is, if someone wanted to make a drone for illegal purposes, they could quite easily. Recently there was a drone discovered that had been used in an attempt to smuggle drugs across the U.S. border.
Imagine the futuristic scenarios from movies where robots are “regulated” but there are dozens of black-market electronics shops and chop shops. Sure there are the brilliant and specialized hackers with the capabilities to mod creations or even create their own, but in our current society it’s easy to become that hacker. Especially with the evolution of the Maker movement where most knowledge is shared and open sourced. It’s a future that is becoming closer every day and it’s going to be almost impossible to “put the genie back in the bottle”.