The Louisiana economy is struggling with more than 100,000 lost jobs since the start of 2020.  To return jobs and opportunity to Louisiana, policymakers should be using all the tools at their disposals. One industry ripe to provide economic benefit to Louisiana is aerial drones.

Aerial drones are a rapidly advancing technology  across the world. There are more than 380,000 commercial drones registered in the United States. Drones are used in everything from agriculture to surveying and even oil and gas inspection. Drone companies like Zipline have made more than 100,000 deliveries across Africa to get crucial medical supplies to remote areas. In the United States, delivery is booming with companies like Rouse’s testing grocery delivery in our neighboring state Alabama.

So what’s stopping this rising industry from being an important contributor to the Louisiana economy?

Current Louisiana law is unclear when it comes to where drones are allowed to fly, and who has property rights over airspace. By providing clarity to these questions, entrepreneurs and hobbyists alike can know where they can and cannot legally operate drones.

Legislation introduced in the 2021 session would answer the question of where drones are allowed to operate by stating that as long as a drone isn’t threatening health or safety they are presumed to be allowed to operate. It would also let both the state and localities rent out airspace creating “drone highways” turbocharging the delivery industry.

Drones can play an important part in the Louisiana economy after the COVID 19 pandemic disrupted industries across the state.