January 14, 2021

19 (Tied) | Massachusetts

Score: 40/100
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  • Airspace Lease Law: 10/30
  • Law Vesting Air Rights with Landowners: 0/10
  • Avigation Easement Law: 25/25
  • Drone Task Force or Program Office: 0/20
  • Drone Jobs Estimate: 5/15

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: Massachusetts law allows state authorities to lease low-altitude airspace over Boston’s metropolitan highways and above state highways. Such a law allows state authorities 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 outside of Boston can lease airspace above local roads.
  • Avigation Easement Law: Massachusetts 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 Jobs Estimate: Massachusetts has 9.7 drone-related jobs per 100,000 people, ranking it in the top half of states.

Factors Hindering the State Score

  • Law Vesting Air Rights with Landowners: Massachusetts 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.
  • Drone 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.

These factors make Massachusetts tied for the 19th most drone-friendly state in the country.