January 14, 2021

1 | North Dakota

Score: 70/100
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  • Airspace Lease Law: 0/30
  • Law Vesting Air Rights with Landowners: 10/10
  • Avigation Easement Law: 25/25
  • Drone Task Force or Program Office: 20/20
  • Drone Jobs Estimate: 15/15

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Law Vesting Air Rights with Landowners: North Dakota law expressly provides air rights to landowners, which reduces litigation risk for drone operators because landowners know the extent of their property rights.
  • Avigation Easement Law: North Dakota 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.
  • Drone Task Force or Program Office: North Dakota gets full points. The state has established a drone program office—t he Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority—that is overseen by state agencies and chaired by the lieutenant governor. The program office develops policies that advance UAS operations, including beyond visual line of sight, flights over people, and night operations.
  • Drone Jobs Estimate: North Dakota has 40.0 drone-related jobs per 100,000 people, ranking it second among all states.

Factors Hindering the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: North Dakota law does not allow public authorities to lease low-altitude airspace above public roads and public property. Such a law would allow state or local authorities to create drone highways above roadways.

These factors make North Dakota the most drone-friendly state in the country.