June 27, 2022

40 | Alabama

Score: 15/100
  • Brent Skorup

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

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Task Force or Program Office: Alabama gets partial points because it had a temporary drone task force. In 2014, Governor Robert Bentley established a drone task force, which produced a one-time report for the governor and state legislature. For a full score, the state needs an active drone task force or a program office within the state transportation department.
  • Jobs Estimate: Alabama 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

  • Airspace Lease Law: Alabama 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.
  • Avigation Easement Law: Alabama 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: Alabama 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: Alabama 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 Alabama the 40th most drone-friendly state in the country.