June 27, 2022

5 | Minnesota

Score: 66/100
  • Brent Skorup

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  • Airspace Lease Law: 10/30
  • Avigation Easement Law: 25/25
  • Task Force or Program Office: 20/20
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: 10/10
  • Sandbox: 0/10
  • Jobs Estimate: 1/5

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: Minnesota law allows state authorities to lease low-altitude airspace over “trunk highways.” Such a law allows state officials to create drone highways above these roadways. However, the state did not receive full points, because the law is silent as to whether local officials can lease airspace above local roads and local property and whether airspace above non-trunk highways can be leased.
  • Avigation Easement Law: Minnesota 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: Minnesota gets full points. The state has a drone program office in the Office of Aeronautics that provides guidance to commercial users and local officials.
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: Minnesota 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

  • Sandbox: Minnesota 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: Minnesota 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 Minnesota the 5th most drone-friendly state in the country.