June 27, 2022

16 | Delaware

Score: 47/100
  • Brent Skorup

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  • Airspace Lease Law: 0/30 
  • Avigation Easement Law: 25/25 
  • Task Force or Program Office: 10/20 
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: 10/10  
  • Sandbox: 0/10
  • Jobs Estimate: 2/5

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Avigation Easement Law: Delaware 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.
  • Task Force or Program Office: Delaware gets partial points because the state created a temporary statewide drone task force in 2015 to encourage education about drones and commercial drone services.
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: Delaware law expressly provides air rights to landowners, which reduces litigation risk for drone operators because landowners know the extent of their property rights.

Factors Hindering the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: Delaware 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.
  • Sandbox: Delaware 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.
  • Jobs Estimate: Delaware is in the fourth quintile when it comes to the number of drone-related jobs per 100,000 people, receiving two out of five points.

These factors make Delaware the 16th most drone-friendly state in the country.