June 27, 2022

6 (Tied) | New Jersey

Score: 58/100
  • Brent Skorup

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  • Airspace Lease Law: 0/30
  • 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: 3/5

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Avigation Easement Law: New Jersey 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: New Jersey gets full points. The state created a drone program within the Bureau of Aeronautics in the New Jersey Department of Transportation. The state has hired professionals to lead the program and intends to use drone technology for initiatives related to traffic management, structural inspections, and aerial corridor 3D mapping.
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: New Jersey 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: New Jersey is in the middle quintile when it comes to the number of drone-related jobs per 100,000 people, receiving three out of five points.

Factors Hindering the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: New Jersey 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 commercial drone highways above these roadways.
  • Sandbox: New Jersey 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 New Jersey tied (with Georgia and North Carolina) for the 6th most drone-friendly state in the country.