As state and local governments continue to discuss draconian drone regulations, drone enthusiasts are joining together to make their voices heard in the process.
The Network of Drone Enthusiasts – NODE – is “a coalition of drone users and manufacturers dedicated to ensuring fair and responsible drone regulations.” With drone manufacturing giant DJI as an initial sponsor, and DroneBase and the Drone Manufacturers Alliance as affiliates, the grassroots based group has powerful backers.
Inviting drone operators to join ongoing campaigns to inform and lobby regulators considering drone regulations locally, and asking members to keep the group informed about local developments, NODE hopes to provide some resistance to the ongoing stream of state and local drone regulations. Local laws and ordinances often unnecessarily restate existing federal regulations, or go further and have serious unintended consequences for drone enthusiasts and local businesses. While some local regulations, such as that recently passed in Newton, MA, requiring a separate city registration for all drones, are being challenged in court; ensuring that regulators understand the issue before passing regulations can be far more effective.
While the FAA has tried to stem the tide of state and local regulations, issuing a fact sheet last year that asserted their sole governance of the NAS, most lawmakers seem unaware of the issue of preemption and anxious to take action on an issue which generally receives little opposition from the public. The National Conference of State Legislators, NCSL, says that at least 38 states considered drone regulations in 2016.
By joining NODE, drone pilots can take action towards “fair and more responsible implementation of drone regulations” in their communities, and can join an active campaign when drone regulations are on the table.
DJI, the lead sponsor of the group, has been a vocal advocate and powerful influence in the development of federal drone regulations and safe flight guidelines, and has participated in the formation of several industry alliances. DJI’s Communications Director of North America, Adam Lisberg, tells DRONELIFE that the NODE campaign is an effort to give individual drone pilots a voice, and DJI hopes that other sponsors will follow. “The issue is too important for any one company to get involved in by itself,” says Lisberg.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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