Study ranks Arkansas No. 2 for drone readiness

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 2,147 views 

Zipline opened its first drone-delivery distribution center in 2021 at a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Pea Ridge.

According to a new study, Arkansas is one of the most drone-friendly states in the nation.

The Mercatus Center, a nonprofit think tank at George Mason University, recently released “Is Your State Ready for Drone Commerce?” a research study of how prepared each state is for commercial drone services. In the survey, Arkansas was tied (with North Dakota) for the second most drone-friendly state in the country.

Arkansas’ drone readiness increased from 2021 to 2022, based on the Mercatus Center’s 2021 and 2022 rankings. In 2021, Arkansas had the third-highest drone readiness ranking, behind Oklahoma and North Dakota.

The research center based its scores on six “drone readiness” factors:

  • Airspace lease law
  • Avigation easement law
  • Task force or program office
  • Law vesting landowners with air rights
  • Sandbox
  • Jobs estimate

Arkansas received top marks for its airspace lease law, avigation easement law, landowner air rights and jobs estimate.

Drones are one part of the future mobility sector. Arkansas’ leadership in the future mobility sector will be laid out by the Arkansas Council on Future Mobility, which Gov. Asa Hutchinson established in February 2022. Council members make policy recommendations to support advanced mobility development, look for opportunities to work with innovative companies, and form partnerships with businesses pushing the boundaries of advanced mobility.