Flying High or Destined to Crash? The Regulatory and Legal Uncertainty of Using Commercial Drones in Environmental Assessment and Monitoring

44th Spring Conference: The ABA Super Conference on Environmental Law

03/26/2015 05:15 p.m. - 06:30 p.m.

Artificial Intelligence + Robotics, Airports + Aviation, Environmental Permitting + Regulation, Drones / Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and Aviation Litigation

Palace Hotel
2 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Speaking Engagement

This technical roundtable session will examine the potential use of commercial drones to conduct environmental assessments and compliance monitoring. While the use of drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles, is a nascent practice, it has the potential to provide demonstrable safety, cost, and efficiency benefits. However, significant uncertainty exists over the use of this technology because of the evolving legal and regulatory framework. For example, although some environmental consultants say the ability to conduct thorough site assessments using drones has been proven, the Federal Aviation Administration maintains their use must be licensed by the agency. But the agency has yet to issue a regulation on drone use, keeping its authority on the matter unclear. In particular, legal issues related to privacy, liability, and risk management must be analyzed and addressed when considering the use of this technology for commercial activities.

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