Drone Supply in Florida Drone Port Laws

Last Thursday, April 27, lawmakers in the Florida House voted unanimously to pass SB 1068, designed to ease the way for drone delivery in Florida.

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SB1068 is an addendum to Florida’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act, and is designed to preempt local regulations regarding the development of drone delivery ports, infrastructure critical to operating drone delivery services at scale. Drone delivery ports such as those proposed by Walmart for their residential delivery services are not large structures, but a lack of definition, standards, and understanding about drone delivery infrastructure can lead to lengthy approval processes in some communities.

The new bill defines a drone port (under 1500 square feet, built in a non-residential area, and constructed in accordance with Florida state building codes) and exempts drone ports from compliance with certain fire codes (which don’t reasonably apply to drone port structures.) In addition, the bill protects drone delivery companies and drone ports from local neighborhood restrictions:

(c) Except as otherwise expressly provided, a political subdivision may not withhold issuance of a business tax receipt, development permit, or other use approval to a drone delivery service or enact or enforce an ordinance or resolution that prohibits a drone delivery service’s operation based on the location of its drone port…

DroneUp, the drone services provider operating residential drone delivery for Walmart, commented on the bill, which will help all drone delivery services in Florida.

“This bill has significant importance for growing the drone industry in Florida. We praise Governor DeSantis, State Senator Jay Collins, Representative Wyman Duggan, and the entire Florida legislature for seeing the value drones can add to their state,” said Tom Walker, CEO of DroneUp. “Drones can help Floridians with last-mile delivery, natural disaster response, infrastructure support, and in many other areas. This bill is critical for the growth of the industry in Florida and the infrastructure needed to bring the tremendous benefits of drones to more communities.”

Anthony Vittone, COO of DroneUp, added: “The unanimous approval by the Florida Legislature of legislation that reduces regulatory barriers to the expansion of drone infrastructure indicates that lawmakers are recognizing how important this game-changing technology is to their constituents. DroneUp looks forward to working with the entire drone industry to provide the benefits of this technology to the American people.”

Grant Guillot, DroneUp’s VP of Regulatory Affairs, said, “The fact that every single Florida legislator – whether Democrat or Republican – who voted on this legislation did so in support of the bill underscores the nonpartisan nature of drone delivery issues. We applaud all the members of both the Florida Senate and House of Representatives for taking this step to assist with the safe integration of drones into the National Airspace System.”

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