09/10/2014 03:11 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Are Drones Becoming Family-Friendly?


(Image Credit: Tom Bricker)

Drones have been talked about a lot, for reasons ranging from military strikes, filming gatherings like burning man, or delivering packages. Notably, Google is investing in a drone delivery fleet, following Amazon's lead. Drones are becoming more common, but can they be family-friendly?

Disney prides itself as family-friendly and not a business most would associate with drones. However, as of August 21, The Walt Disney Company has filed three patents for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). For now UAVs (drones) are illegal for commercial use, but Disney could make the flying robots a fixture in family entertainment.

Interestingly, Disney Junior's preschooler show Special Agent Oso, released a music video titled 'Shutterbug Time.' The video introduces the cute ladybug robot 'Shutterbug.' The singing describes Shutterbug as "camera ready" and "always in flight." After Shutterbug videotapes around children the lyric, "sending a picture right up to the satellite," makes automated surveillance sound fun. Shutterbug appears a friendly drone looking out for our safety. Not scary, right?

The last thing a company like Walt Disney wants is to be scary. But how could drones be turned from scary to magical? How about as entertainment at Disney World?

Drones could create light shows via projection, carry projection screens and even control renditions of characters in the sky. Drone-shows could be a possible replacement for the iconic firework shows of Disney World. The patent even mentions drones as a safer alternative to fireworks.

This patent concept sketches a Jack Skellington marionette. Forbes describes the patent as, "essentially creating a computer display that flies." Who wouldn't be enamored with their favorite lit up Disney characters dancing through the sky?

Whether depicting drones as unintimidating in 'Shutterbug Time,' or drones in theme parks; Disney wants drones to be family-friendly. How the public will respond to drones around their children remains to be seen. Undoubtedly, the sensation created by these drone-shows will dazzle. The age of family-friendly drones may be upon us.