International UAS Surveillance Markets Heat Up as American Companies Wait for Guidance

International UAS Surveillance Markets Heat Up as American Companies Wait for Guidance

By William D. Ezzell

No one likes the idea of big brother. But what if big brother is the one writing the check? And not looking at you?

As we previously posted, American UAS companies are vying to compete with Chinese companies in the international UAS military market. Countries around the world are actively building UAS fleets but U.S. export controls have hampered American companies from competing. Foreign competitors continue to challenge the American UAS industry, which could not have been more evident at this year’s China Public Security Expo in Shenzhen, China. 

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CNN Receives ‘First-of-its-Kind’ Waiver to Fly Drones over Crowds

CNN Receives ‘First-of-its-Kind’ Waiver to Fly Drones over Crowds

By Thomas Nguyen

CNN has recently received a ‘first of its kind’ waiver associated with its drone operating license with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), allowing CNN to fly its drones over open-air crowds of people at altitudes of up to 150 feet above ground level with no restrictions regarding crowd density. This is a big deal because this waiver sets a new precedent that would now allow operators to fly drones over people. As of today, the FAA has issued 1,317 Part 107 waivers with only seven of the waivers allowing drone operations over people – and, when allowed, limiting those flights to closed set operations and only when the drone is tethered. Further, the waivers limited the flights to a maximum height of 21 feet above ground level. 

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FAA In Search of a Legal Basis For Drone Registration

FAA In Search of a Legal Basis For Drone Registration

By Thomas L. Gemmell

At the end of 2015, the FAA required those operating small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“sUAS”) used for other than commercial purposes to register the UAS and affix a registration number on the aircraft. The registration requirement emerged from an increase in the number of reported near misses involving UAS and was to facilitate the tracking of those who violated general aviation rules and regulations. 

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A Survey of Drone Patent Activity

A Survey of Drone Patent Activity

By: Adam C. Rehm

Drone technology has opened the door to fascinating possibilities.  Many companies around the world are working to take advantage of such by investing in research and development.  As with any investment of this nature, inventions are conceived and patent applications are filed in various patent offices around the world including the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  The USPTO provides a veritable treasure trove of data that can be processed to measure innovation and determine who is doing what and when.  

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Are UAVs Fair Game Over Private Land

Are UAVs Fair Game Over Private Land

By: Elton F. Dean III

Two recent legal developments have further muddied the waters for operators of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or “drones,” regarding private property and trespass or alleged trespass.  In particular, one judicial decision and one state legislative action are tilting the balance towards the rights of landowners.  These developments may increase the number of private landowners that take matters into their own hands when confronted by a UAS over or near private property.

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