15 | Maryland

Score: 49/100

  • Airspace Lease Law: 0/30
  • Avigation Easement Law: 25/25
  • Task Force or Program Office: 0/20
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: 10/10
  • Sandbox: 10/10
  • Jobs Estimate: 4/5

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Avigation Easement Law: Maryland law creates an avigation easement, which means drone operators are protected from nuisance and trespass laws as long as their drones do not disturb people on the ground.
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: Maryland law expressly provides air rights to landowners, which reduces litigation risk for drone operators because landowners know the extent of their property rights.
  • Sandbox: Maryland’s drone center at Salisbury Regional Airport offers airspace access to drone companies, is affiliated with the state transportation department, and has a prominent, open invitation to drone companies to test their hardware and services.
  • Jobs Estimate: Maryland is in the second quintile when it comes to the number of drone-related jobs per 100,000 people, receiving four out of five points.

Factors Hindering the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: Maryland law does not allow public authorities to lease low-altitude airspace above state and local roads. An airspace lease law would allow state or local officials to create drone highways above these roadways.
  • Task Force or Program Office: The Maryland Department of Commerce released a state drone report as instructed by the legislature in 2015. While commendable, for Maryland to receive partial points, the report would need to come directly from the legislature to signify lawmaker prioritization of drone policy. State leaders should consider convening a statewide drone task force or creating a drone program office within the transportation department.

These factors make Maryland the 15th most drone-friendly state in the country.