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Drones at UD

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University creates resources, procedures for use of drones on campus

A new University of Delaware policy and application process provide guidance to faculty, staff and students on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – commonly referred to as drones – on campus.

The University convened a team of representatives from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Department of Geological Sciences, the Research Office, the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Risk Management and Campus and Public Safety in crafting the policy and the application process.

All UAS operators must follow the new policy and complete an application for approval, prior to flying UAS on any University property. The policy requires the operators to follow Federal Aviation Administration regulations, as well as state and local laws regarding UAS. The policy is designed to enable research and educational uses, while also requiring compliance with other University policies and procedures, and it promotes the safety, security and privacy of the members of the University community.

“We have developed guidelines based upon FAA protocols and national best practices in order to mitigate risks to individuals and to ensure the safety of the University community and UAS operators,” said Skip Homiak, executive director of Campus and Public Safety at UD. “All operators must complete an application in advance of any UAS flight and be sure to follow all FAA directives if they wish to fly a UAS on campus. We realize UAS research is an exciting new field, and we are here to support our faculty, staff and students in their research endeavors.”

Hobby or recreational use of UAS is strictly prohibited on or above University property, except as part of a course or University-sanctioned educational program, or for an event organized by a student organization recognized by the University. UAS flights are permitted for research, educational and some other commercial/business ventures, with prior permission from the University.

The UAS policy provides safeguards for the privacy of individuals and prohibits recording where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. (Examples include, but are not limited to, restrooms, locker rooms, residence halls, medical facilities, etc.) UAS shall not be operated over areas of public assembly, stadiums or athletic venues, and any approved UAS flight must not operate beyond limits proscribed by the FAA.

The policy is posted under University Policies on the Office of General Counsel website, and Campus and Public Safety has a website, where the new policy is posted along with a link to the UAS application and a helpful FAQ document. UAS operators MUST submit an application to Campus and Public Safety at least two weeks in advance of the planned flight. The application will be returned to the applicant with a final approval decision in a timely manner.


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