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State task force suggests drone limits to lawmakers
LANSING — A new report by a Michigan task force said the state Legislature should limit the operation of drones around areas such as correctional facilities, tourist destinations and prominent bridges.
The 27-member Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force was created earlier this year to form statewide policy on the operation and regulation of unmanned aircraft systems. Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature will review the recommendations in the panel's report, which was released last month.
"As the use of drones becomes more popular for commercial and recreational use, it is critically important that we develop a statewide policy to ensure the safety of Michiganders while still allowing the creative freedom necessary for developing new applications for this technology," Snyder said in a statement.
The report released Nov. 22 had 13 recommendations, including the creation of an Unmanned Aerial System Joint Program Office, developing education and outreach strategies and expanding the American Center for Mobility to include unmanned aircraft.
That center is a test site for autonomous vehicles.
The panel's report said it worked to balance safety needs while respecting the Federal Aviation Administration's authority over airspace.
"With this in mind, the UASTF recommends that the Legislature consider legislation that would prohibit interference with a key facility, as currently defined in statute with a UAS. This legislation should include no specific airspace restriction, but rather a prohibition on a certain conduct such as 'interference' or similarly defined term," the task force's report states.
The report also specifically names Mackinac Island as an area that should be protected.