Ever wonder what’s happening at the local and state levels regarding drones?

Arthur Holland Michel is founder and editor of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College. The Center examines the novel and complex opportunities and challenges presented by unmanned systems technologies in both the military and civilian sphere. As a freelance writer and editor based in New York City, Arthur has written about unmanned systems, mechanical autonomy, and surveillance. Prior to forming the Center for the Study of the Drone, from 2009 to 2012, he was the director of the Tambo Foundation, a community nonprofit that developed sustainable projects in education, infrastructure, potable water, and health in the Cusco region in southern Peru.  Recently, the Center completed a three-part study on drone use and regulations at the local level in the United States.  The Drone at Home study examines local regulations, public safety use of drones and drone incidents. Arthur is here to talk about the Center for the Study of the Drone, an interesting class on the Drone Revolution and the findings of the Drone at Home series.

In This Episode

  • Introduction. Arthur Holland Michel is founder and editor of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College.
  • The Center for the Study of the Drone. Arthur shares the story behind the creation of the Center at Bard College.  As Arthur explains, the decision to establish the Center grew out of a need to provide unbiased, objective research into the use of military and civilian drones.
  • Drone Revolution Class. The Center for the Study of the Drone offers a class on drones and their impact on society.  The class gives students an opportunity to explore the issues and opportunities of drone technology.
  • Drones At Homes Research. In 2017, the Center released a 3-part series on the use of drones at the local level.  The three research products include an analysis of local and state drone regulations, public safety use of drones and an evaluation of drone incidents.
  • Local Drone Ordinances.  The report consists of an analysis of a database of 135 localities that have enacted rules for drone use, a breakdown of drone-related statutes in states that have passed legislation governing the use of unmanned aircraft, and a brief discussion of the federal government’s regulations for drone use and its position on the enactment of local legislation and rules. Some of the key takeaways of the study are:
    • One hundred and thirty five localities in 31 states have enacted drone rules in recent years. These localities are home to over 30 million people.
    • The most common local restrictions include prohibitions against flying drones over public property and private property without the property owner’s consent.
    • A number of these rules may to contravene federal authority, and could result in legal conflict.
    • State statutes restrict the use of drones by law enforcement, the use of drones over critical infrastructure, and flights over private property, among other types of operations.
  • Public Safety Use Of Drones.  The Center’s research suggests that at least 347 state and local police, sheriff, fire, and emergency units have acquired drones in the past several years. Local law enforcement departments lead public safety drone acquisitions.  Consumer drones are more common among public safety units than specialized professional drones.
  • Drone Incidents. As outlined by the Center, this report serves as a short profile of 30 incidents involving drone use in the U.S. that resulted in some form of legal or disciplinary action by a local authority, in addition to a small number of incidents handled by the National Park Service and the Department of Justice. The study demonstrates some of the challenges of effectively and consistently enforcing the rules governing drone use in the country.
  • Perspective on the Industry.  Arthur shares his thoughts on the state of the drone industry.
  • Closing. Arthur hope that the Center will continue to be seen as providing objective, unbiased and reliable data on the use of drones that will be used by a variety of industry professionals and policy makers.

Mentioned Links