Safety and privacy regulations for unmanned aerial vehicles: A multiple comparative analysis

Dasom Lee, David J. Hess*, Michiel A. Heldeweg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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With the growth of commercial and recreational use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones), there is increasing attention to the need for regulation. A systematic review is conducted using a multiple comparative perspective: across three political jurisdictions (the United States, the European Union, and Japan) and across two areas of societal implication and policy (i.e., privacy and safety), with additional comparisons drawn from regulations for related cyber-physical systems. The multiple comparative analysis conducted in this paper shows that safety is a much more salient concern than privacy. Moreover, safety is focused on technical features of the UAVs, registration and certification, and differentiation by use case. Privacy regulations tend to follow broader digital privacy guidelines. Although there are some privacy rules that are UAV-specific, many of them do not yet directly address privacy challenges that are specific for UAVs. Additional comparisons with safety and privacy policies for automated vehicles and the smart grid reveal areas of potential development for harmonization and policy guidance. The study concludes with ten recommendations for future policy development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102079
JournalTechnology in society
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Comparative analysis
  • Privacy
  • Regulations
  • Safety
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles

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