June 27, 2022

18 | Louisiana

Score: 44/100
  • Brent Skorup

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

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: Louisiana law allows local authorities to lease low-altitude airspace above local roads and waterways. Such a law allows local officials to create drone highways above these roadways. It is noteworthy that Louisiana law also allows the state land office and municipalities to lease airspace above non-navigable waters of the state. However, the state did not receive full points, because the law is silent as to whether state officials can lease airspace above state roads and state property.
  • Task Force or Program Office: Louisiana gets full points. The state has a drone task force overseen by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. This task force was created by the legislature in 2021 and develops statewide policy recommendations on the operation, use, and regulation of drones.
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: Louisiana law expressly provides air rights to landowners, which reduces litigation risk for drone operators because landowners know the extent of their property rights.
  • Jobs Estimate: Louisiana 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: Louisiana 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.
  • Sandbox: Louisiana does not have a drone sandbox. The Louisiana National Guard created a drone sandbox at Fort Polk in 2015, but it appears to be limited to battlefield services. 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 Louisiana the 18th most drone-friendly state in the country.