The news Amazon is planning to pioneer an experimental drone-based deliver system generated plenty of traffic on Twitter over the weekend.
Amazon says it is working on technology that would allow tiny, unmanned aircraft to deliver packages from a company warehouse to a purchasers home. But the futuristic notion still faces a significant regulatory hurdles, including the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration.
More than a dozen states have passed laws regulating drones–Connecticut is not among them. It is one of just four states — Louisiana, South Dakota and Delaware are the others — that is silent on drones.
An October report by the Office of Legislative Research gave an overview of the state laws enacted elsewhere, with a particular focus on a Texas law that took effect earlier this year.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, many states are debating if and how drone technology should be regulated, “taking into account privacy concerns, the benefits of their use and their potential economic impact.” The NCSL found that 118 bills and resolutions concerning issues drones were introduced in 2013. “So far, 16 bills have been enacted in 13 states and 14 resolutions have been adopted in 10 states,” the group reports.
In addition to delivering books, cat food and a million other items sold by Amazon, drones have a number of commercial applications, from taking photographs of real estate to land surveillance. Non-commercial entities such as wildlife trackers, search and rescue operations, firefighters and law enforcement have also founded uses for the technology.
But lawmakers at the state level have sought to regulate the use of drones to protect privacy and guard against possible overreach by law enforcement. The Texas law, for instance, makes it a crime to use an unmanned aircraft to illegally capture images and it establishes reporting requirements for law enforcement authorities.