Possible Liability Concerns for Drone Manufacturers Imposing Technical Measures to Enforce No Fly Zones

Will be interesting to see how this plays out.  DJI is no doubt trying to be proactive in the eyes of regulators but it could be a slippery slope in terms of how liability is seen if these systems fail.  Plus if the UAVs become too locked down they lose their purpose.

There also needs to be a means to override these systems for commercial operators that have legal authorized permission to fly in areas deemed “by fly” by the firmware.

Diana Marina Cooper

Shortly after a Phantom crash-landed on the grounds of the White House, its maker DJI announced that it would release a mandatory firmware update that would restrict flights within 15.5 miles of downtown Washington, D.C.

On Friday, Senator Schumer’s office released a statement urging the FAA to mandate that manufacturers impose technical controls to prevent drones from flying in high risk areas including near airports, other aircraft and the White House.

Whether drone manufacturers enforce “No Fly Zones” on their initiative as DJI has announced it will do, or whether they will be required to do so by the FAA at a later date, there are legal liability issues that should be considered.

If a manufacturer has not imposed technical measures to enforce No Fly Zones, and an operator enters a restricted area, liability is fairly straightforward. Assuming there is no design or manufacturing defect that causes the drone to…

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