By Tim Ryan
As most of us know, DroneUp, is a drone services provider based in Virginia Beach. They have been making headlines lately for their work in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. Their residential drone delivery services for Walmart have been drawing attention from across the country, and now, they’re making waves in Florida with a new bill designed to support the growth of drone delivery infrastructure.
The bill, SB1068, is an addendum to Florida’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act, and it aims to preempt local regulations regarding the development of drone delivery ports. These ports are critical to operating drone delivery services at scale, but a lack of definition, standards, and understanding about drone delivery infrastructure can lead to lengthy approval processes in some communities.
Under the new bill, a drone port is defined as a structure under 1500 square feet, built in a non-residential area, and constructed in accordance with Florida state building codes. Drone ports are also exempt from compliance with certain fire codes that don’t reasonably apply to their structures. Additionally, the bill protects drone delivery companies and ports from local neighborhood restrictions.
“This bill has significant importance for growing the drone industry in Florida,” said Tom Walker, CEO of DroneUp. “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. 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 recognize 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.”
Drone delivery services are still in their infancy, but they hold enormous promise for a wide range of industries. From healthcare to retail, construction to agriculture, drones have the potential to transform the way we do business, and the passage of bills like SB1068 is a critical step forward in making that vision a reality. By streamlining the approval process for drone delivery infrastructure, we can help businesses bring the benefits of drone technology to more communities and create a brighter future for all.