North Carolina | 2023 State Drone Scorecard

North Carolina ranks fourth in its readiness for commercial drone services

Rank: 4 (tied)

North Carolina tied with Georgia and Arizona for fourth place in the 2023 State Drone Commerce Scorecard rankings. The state scored 68 out of 100 possible points in how prepared it is for commercial drone services.

The Six Factors Contributing to the Overall Score

A Score in Gray Indicates a Score Below the Median of All States

0 / 30

Airspace Lease Law
North Carolina 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 drone highways above these roadways.

25 / 25

Avigation Easement Law
North Carolina 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. 

20 / 20

Task Force or Program Office
The state has a drone program office in the Division of Aviation with the goal of promoting economic development and airport safety. 

10 / 10

North Carolina’s drone center at Washington-Warren Airport offers airspace access to drone companies, is affiliated with the state transportation department, and has a prominent, open invitation to drone companies to test their services.

10 / 10

Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights
North Carolina law expressly provides air rights to landowners, which reduces litigation risk for drone operators. 

3 / 5

Jobs Estimate
North Carolina is in the middle quintile when it comes to the number of drone-related jobs per 100,000 people.

How North Carolina Scored Relative to Its Peers

Commercial drone-readiness scores vary across the nation. To give state leaders and residents insight into how their state compares, we have provided the scores of four state peers. In this case, these peers are selected because of their geographic and political similarities.

Chart showing how North Carolina scored relative to its peers

North Carolina scored 68 of out 100 possible points. The top ranked state in 2023 was Arkansas, which scored 90 points.

Chart showing how North Carolina scored relative to its peers

Get in Touch With the Author

Brent Skorup regularly briefs policymakers on his research and has appeared as a guest for news outlets like C-SPAN, NPR, CBS News, ABC News, and CNBC Asia.

Dive Deeper

Access the full 2023 report to learn more about the methodology, download the data, and see how the scorecard has changed since last year.