UAS Law & Policy Research Project

In January 2017, an Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism project to support the integration of unmanned aerial systems (UAS, or “drones”) into New York communities was named as one of six projects across Syracuse University’s schools and colleges that together were awarded more than $230,000 in funding.

For the INSCT project—“Law and Policy of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles”—the Principal Investigator is INSCT Director William C. Banks, who is joined by Deputy Director Robert B. Murrett, Assistant Director Keli Perrin, Research and Practice Associate Laurie Hobart, and faculty members Nathan Sales, William C. Snyder, and Tina Nabatchi.

INSCT’s project will develop a policy and legal framework that supports the use of various types of UAS throughout the state, while ensuring public safety, protecting civil liberties, and promoting industrial growth.

The funding was awarded after a call for proposals went out to researchers across the University from the SU College of Engineering and Computer Science, in collaboration with the SU Office of Research, to stimulate research and industry collaboration in the UAS field.

The core funding comes from a portion of Phase 1 of New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative, as well as supplemental funding from the Office of Research. Central New York was one of three Upstate regions awarded $500 million in 2015 for various projects as part of the initiative.

Project Reports

UAS Law and Policy: Toward a Framework for State and Local Governments (Workshop Report), May 2017

Syracuse University’s Institute of National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) hosted a one-day workshop on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS or “drone”) on March 10, 2017. INSCT selected two topics at the forefront of UAS law and policy development: Whether and when federal regulation preempts state regulation of UAS; and How to safeguard privacy


Law & Policy of UAS Public Engagement Project Report, May 2017

On March 26, 2017, over 40 residents from the Syracuse, NY area attended a three-hour public workshop to evaluate and discuss perspectives and policy options surrounding the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, or “drones”) in the community. This deliberative public workshop shed light on how an informed public views issues relating to the use of UAS. Using data from three surveys and the flipchart notes taken during the table discussions, this report explores participants’ general dispositions toward UAS, and their views on and recommendations for the use of UAS by the commercial and private sector, the government and public sector, and hobbyists. The