The use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) (i.e., drones) will continue to grow dramatically in the near future as costs for this technology are reduced. The proper use of this technology in agriculture can result in significant benefits for the industry. However, privacy and public safety issues are becoming more prominent as use increases.
Many of the issues surrounding UAS are governed on the federal level by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); however, a number of state level issues need to be resolved. We encourage Michigan Farm Bureau to work with the state Legislature to address issues regarding UAS use. Also, we urge MFB to continue to increase their knowledge and understanding of the evolving UAS issues including but not limited to:
- Privacy and private property rights
- Reckless endangerment
- Proprietary data
- Authority enforcement and jurisdiction consistent with FAA part 107
As information becomes more definitive, we encourage MFB to continue utilizing a UAS action team to develop and promote educational tools.
- The use of UAS for commercial purposes (i.e. agriculture, forestry, and other natural resource use).
- Requiring the operator of the UAS to gain the consent of the landowner and/or operator, if the UAS will be surveying or gathering data about the landowner's property below navigable airspace.
- Treating the UAS as an extension of the operator subject to trespass regulations.
- The regulation of UAS as recreational aircraft.
- Internet and cellular providers including support within rural networks for agricultural equipment connections.
- The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development ensuring its policies support the use of autonomous equipment on farms.
- Michigan State University increasing its research efforts related to autonomous technology on farms.
- A federal and state agency using UAS for the purpose of regulatory enforcement, litigation and as a sole source for natural resource inventories used in planning efforts.
- UAS surveying and gathering data without the consent of the landowner and/or operator below navigable airspace.
- FAA and/or state agencies regulating UAS as fixed-winged aircraft.