AI News, A Weird Time for Drone Operators

A Weird Time for Drone Operators

Late last month, a federal court dismissed a lawsuit brought against a Kentucky man who shot a drone out of the sky when it allegedly flew over his property in 2015.

The drone operator, who filed the lawsuit in 2016, argued that his DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter, flying at an altitude of some 200 feet, was in federally protected airspace and was in no way trespassing based on the Federal Aviation Administration’s rules and even the trespassing laws of his state, which according to his suit prohibit a person from intruding, not a drone.

Or are responsible drone operators, ones who fly their diminutive craft in a safe and reasonable way, able to operate them anywhere they please, so long as they follow the FAA’s rules governing drones and don’t break any state or local laws?

According to North Carolina state drone laws: “It shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person to fish or to hunt using an unmanned aircraft system” (though the statutes don’t make clear whether the drone could be used for spotting purposes).

“In many instances, these statutes are in conflict with federal rules,” say Brendan Schulman, an attorney and vice president of policy and legal affairs for the world’s leading drone manufacturer, DJI, headquartered in Shenzhen, China.

“There are issues of local concern that are legitimate, which I think we need to address,” he says, stressing that the small kinds of drones we’re talking about are fundamentally different from manned aircraft, and local authorities are many times in a better position to figure out what the appropriate use of such a drone is.

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