California bill one of many state bills that aim to regulate drones

The California assembly has passed a bill that restricts drones to above 350 feet of private property

A California bill that restricts flying of drones to above 350 feet (107 meters) over private property is just one of several state bills in the U.S. that aim to regulate various aspects of flying the unmanned aircraft.

Florida, for example, has passed a law that prohibits the use of a drone to capture images of private property or of its owner, tenant or occupant with the intent to conduct surveillance without written consent if a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.

Arkansas has, meanwhile, passed a law that prohibits the use of drones to secretly take images for voyeurism.

In the wake of reports of video-shooting drones interfering with firefighting activities last month, a couple of other bills were introduced in California, including one to indemnify emergency personnel in the event of damage to unmanned aircraft in the course of their work.

In 2015, 45 states have considered 156 bills related to drones, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The states are pushing ahead with legislation even as the Federal Aviation Administration has proposed rules for the regulation of drones earlier this year. It said the rules would allow for the routine use of certain small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) but flights should be limited to 500 feet altitude and no faster than 100 miles-per-hour.

Separate FAA rules for model aircraft used by hobbyists also limit the altitude to which drones can be flown to 400 feet.

But the California bill, if it becomes law,  could deal a stiffer blow to the aspirations by companies like Amazon.com that are aiming to make deliveries using drones.

The California bill, which was passed by the assembly on Monday and referred to the state Senate, would hence limit drones to an altitude of between 350 to about 500 feet, depending on type of user,  if the FAA rules are passed without the changes some commercial operators like Amazon.com have proposed.

The need to ask permission from property owners to fly below 350 feet could mean, for example, that delivery companies would have to take permission of neighbors ahead of making a delivery to a particular location.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Democrat from Santa Barbara, sees drones raising privacy issues, despite their obvious benefits. The bill clarifies that the rules pertaining to trespassing also apply to entry by remotely operated aerial vehicles on private property, she said in a statement earlier this month.

The new bill has the potential to further confuse UAS users and stifle economic growth in California, said Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the nonprofit Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). "The Supreme Court has ruled that property rights do not extend infinitely into the sky. Only the FAA can regulate airspace; states and municipalities can’t," he added in a statement.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?