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California governor shoots down drone bill

Inside The UAS Mapping 2014 Reno SymposiumInside The UAS Mapping 2014 Reno Symposium

Score one for drone fans.

Late Wednesday, California governor Jerry Brown vetoed proposed legislation that would have limited the use of drones (aka unmanned aerial vehicles) from flying less than 350 feet above private property without the owner’s express consent.

In his note explaining the veto of Senate Bill 142, which passed in late August, Brown said while increased drone use does pose problems, this law would have “exposed the occasional hobbyist and the FAA-approved commercial user to burdensome litigation and new causes of action.”

An array of commercial forces, including Amazon (AMZN) and Google (GOOG) (both of which want to use drones commercially) opposed this bill, as did other interest groups including the National Press Photographers Association. One use of commercial drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, is aerial photography of events not viewable from ground level.

But clearly drone use poses big issues, from crash landings at public events (including the U.S. Open) to do-it-yourselfers who mount guns on UAVs. Not to mention that in California, firefighters blamed the presence of drones for delaying their response to a wildfire near Los Angeles.

So while this legislation may be dead, the debate over limitations on drone use will surely rage on.

For more on the commercial drone market, see the video below.

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