June 27, 2022

36 | New York

Score: 25/100
  • Brent Skorup

Contact us
To speak with a scholar or learn more on this topic, visit our contact page.
  • Airspace Lease Law: 10/30
  • Avigation Easement Law: 0/25
  • Task Force or Program Office: 0/20
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: 0/10
  • Sandbox: 10/10
  • Jobs Estimate: 5/5

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: New York law allows local authorities to lease low-altitude airspace above local roads. Such a law allows local officials to create drone highways above these roadways. 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.
  • Sandbox: New York’s NUAIR program in Upstate New York 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: New York is in the top quintile when it comes to the number of drone-related jobs per 100,000 people, receiving five out of five points.

Factors Hindering the State Score

  • Avigation Easement Law: New York 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.
  • Task Force or Program Office: State leaders should consider convening a statewide drone task force or creating a drone program office within the transportation department.
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: New York 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.

These factors make New York the 36th most drone-friendly state in the country.