June 27, 2022

43 (Tied) | South Carolina

Score: 11/100
  • Brent Skorup

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  • 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: 0/10
  • Jobs Estimate: 1/5

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: South Carolina law allows local authorities to lease low-altitude airspace above local roads. Such a law allows local officials to create drone highways above local 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.

Factors Hindering the State Score

  • Avigation Easement Law: South Carolina 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: South Carolina 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: South Carolina 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: South Carolina is in the bottom quintile when it comes to the number of drone-related jobs per 100,000 people, receiving one out of five points.

These factors make South Carolina tied (with Kentucky) for the 43rd most drone-friendly state in the country.