January 14, 2021

9 (Tied) | Texas

Score: 54/100
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  • Airspace Lease Law: 30/30
  • Law Vesting Air Rights with Landowners: 0/10
  • Avigation Easement Law: 0/25
  • Drone Task Force or Program Office: 20/20
  • Drone Jobs Estimate: 4/15

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: Texas law allows airspace leasing above local roads, state roads, and state property. This law allows state authorities to create drone highways above state and local roadways and reduces the risk of litigation.
  • Drone Task Force or Program Office: Texas gets full points. In 2019, Governor Greg Abbott created a statewide task force—the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Task Force—overseen by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The task force has representatives from the drone industry, and part of the task force’s mission is to stimulate drone services and economic development in Texas.

Factors Hindering the State Score

  • Law Vesting Air Rights with Landowners: Texas 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.
  • Avigation Easement Law: Texas 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.
  • Drone Jobs Estimate: Texas has 7.2 drone-related jobs per 100,000 people, ranking it in the bottom half of states.

 These factors make Texas tied for the 9th most drone-friendly state in the country.