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States Are Increasingly Preparing For Future of Widespread Drone Operations

Posted 26 days ago ago by Admin

Widespread drone operations are already providing important services to the American public. Without regulatory hurdles, drones hold immense promise to simultaneously provide benefits in efficiency, economic investments, job creation, and worker safety via remote aerial inspections.

Throughout the 2024 state legislative sessions, AUVSI is tracking all state-level legislation relevant to drones and advanced air mobility (AAM) as part of our “Drone Prepared” initiative – our industry-backed, multi-state effort to help lawmakers ensure that their state or locality is ready for the benefits that drone operations will bring to their communities.

Trends We’re Tracking

With a busy election year comes shortened state legislative sessions, and March marked the first month where more states adjourned than convened. Despite the shortened sessions, a wide array of issues have been touched upon with about 150 bills relevant to drones and AAM active in the 2024 sessions. 

Key issues we’ve seen so far have focused on the emerging sector of advanced air mobility and also include topics covered consistently in the past few years: critical infrastructure, trespass, privacy, and general drone misuse. 

Drone Prepared Flight Plan

AUVSI has prepared a plan to help state and local lawmakers ensure that their state or city is Drone Prepared. We are urging lawmakers to:

  1. Look for opportunities to promote drone use for public benefit. This can include ensuring that grant and educational programs apply to drones, collaborating in UAS pilot programs such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) BEYOND program, and incorporating UAS in government contracting.

  2. Leave air navigation and aviation safety to the FAA. States should not try to dictate when or where UAS can fly, set aircraft design standards, or impose additional certification obligations for UAS pilots.

  3. Use caution in adopting drone-specific laws and instead leverage existing law. States should not adopt unnecessary drone-specific laws when existing regulations already protect against aerial trespass and privacy violations.

Positive Developments

In March, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed Senate Bill 169 into law after its unanimous passage in the State’s Senate and 67-2 passage in its House of Representatives. AUVSI was proud to support this legislation and work closely with lawmakers to ensure its success.

The law benefits commercial and recreational drone operators in South Dakota by codifying their rights, preventing a patchwork of rules, and preventing the future adoption of unnecessary laws that specifically target drones. With this legislation, South Dakota is at the forefront of states leading the way in preparing for the benefits that the future of uncrewed and autonomous flight will unlock.

Stay Connected

AUVSI is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of uncrewed systems, drones, and robotics. AUVSI’s community includes 400+ leading organizations and 5,000+ professionals across the commercial, civil, and defense markets. Contact [email protected] to learn more about how you can:

  • Connect with other leaders to share insights and solve problems,

  • Convene with customers, suppliers, and partners to unlock new opportunities,

  • Communicate the value of your technology to the general public and key stakeholders, and

  • Collaborate with policymakers and industry experts to push the industry forward.

To receive weekly updates on drone legislation AUVSI is tracking, sign up for our weekly newsletter at https://bit.ly/DronePrepared.

About the Author

Elizabeth Sila is manager of government affairs at AUVSI, where she focuses on government advocacy and stakeholder education at the state, tribal, and local levels across all 50 states. Learn more about Drone Prepared at droneprepared.org.

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