June 27, 2022

12 (Tied) | Washington

Score: 54/100
  • Brent Skorup

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

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: Washington law allows public authorities to lease low-altitude airspace above state and local roads. Such a law allows state or local officials to create drone highways above these roadways.
  • Task Force or Program Office: Washington gets full points. The Washington Department of Transportation created and oversees a program office devoted to drone technologies.
  • Jobs Estimate: Washington 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

  • Avigation Easement Law: Washington law does not create an avigation easement, which means drone operators may be subject to nuisance and trespass laws, even if their drones do not disturb people on the ground.
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: Washington law does not expressly provide air rights to landowners, which raises litigation risk for drone operators because landowners do not know the extent of their property rights and may sue to protect their interests.
  • Sandbox: Washington does not have a drone sandbox. State officials should consider dedicating state facilities and airspace to commercial drone testing and should have a prominent, open invitation for drone companies to test their hardware and services.

These factors make Washington tied (with Texas) for the 12th most drone-friendly state in the country.