My cousin got a drone for Christmas. He’s a gadget geek, and drones are all the rage especially for early adapters of cutting edge technology. It seems to me the popularity of drones has shot through the roof in less than a year. Wasn’t it just a year ago when Amazon president Jeff Bezos made big news when he revealed that Amazon hoped to use drones to make same day deliveries?

My cousin has been flying his drone inside and outside his house. Legally he can’t do much more. The Federal Aviation Administration has not yet permitted consumers like him to take to the skies above 400 feet. The agency is still drawing up regulations outlining who will be allowed to fly, how high, and in what space.

Those regulations have become a stumbling block for drone manufacturers anxious to respond to the growing demand for the unmanned aircraft. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, drone makers estimated that the worldwide market would bring in about 10 billion dollars within the next ten years. But they also told the Boston Globe’s Hiawatha Bray that their business has been significantly impacted by the regulatory delay. In the meantime, the FAA has shut down anything resembling commercial drone use. Texan Gene Wimberly used his radio controlled model airplanes as a tool in search and rescue. His RP Search Services located the remains of nearly a dozen people in areas hard for people to search. The FAA told Wimberly –who conducts these searches for free--he was violating its ban on commercial drone flights. Wimberly is fighting back with a lawsuit against the FAA.

But the FAA has agreed to a few special deals allowing for drone use right now. Earlier this month CNN confirmed an FAA approved agreement for the cable network to use drones in newsgathering and reporting. The deal expands CNN’s existing drone research collaboration with the Georgia Tech Research Institute. CNN’s Senior VP said the news network would incorporate its current newsgathering technology with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs and camera setups. David Vigilante explained, “Our hope is that these efforts contribute to the development of a vibrant ecosystem where operators of various types and sizes can safely operate in the US airspace. “

It’s that vibrant ecosystem which worries me. I can’t stand the sound of a single buzzing fly. I’d be driven crazy by a collective electronic swarm of humming drones of every size and shape. Yes I know they say they can make quiet dronesAnchor, but a noiseless drone also worries me. Easier for the machine to invade my privacy silently, hovering outside my window or over my head capturing details of my life I’d rather not share. But what really scares me is the thought of drone crashes. Lately there has been one too many near misses of jumbo jets. Drones are specks compared to them--How will the FAA prevent them from constantly crashing into each other?

The regulation announcement will be soon, but with revisions, the final FAA rules might not be in place for another year. I hope I don’t sound like a Luddite when I tell you I’m in no hurry to duck for cover.