The Possibilities of Drone Regulation

A Case Study of Federal Regulation and Comparative Drone Legislation
PRS Briefs
PRS Policy Brief 1819-11
Sunday, May 12, 2019

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), or drones, are becoming increasingly prominent in the world. Many people have started using drones recreationally, and there is growing market for drone hobbyists. Businesses have also found creative commercial applications for drones, like using them as a delivery system and for aerial recording. This report summarizes and analyzes the projected economic trends of drone usage, which largely point to significant market growth within the next five years. While the emergence of drones will have many benefits, there are a variety of ways they can be misused. These abuses can span anywhere from authorities or civilians invading the privacy of another person to flying too close to another UAS. This report assesses many of the ways that drones can be used haphazardly or maliciously and considers possible ways to mitigate damage caused by drones. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has created rules and regulations for the commercial use of drones, and several states have adopted their own sets of regulations on drone usage. However, the only legislation to date in New Hampshire on the issue pertains to the use of UAS while hunting. This report explores existing legislation both at the federal and state levels, and the type of approaches New Hampshire could adopt. Overall this report presents different policy options that New Hampshire should consider to prevent drone misuses while simultaneously benefiting from the potential economic and security benefits of increased drone use.