On Friday, July 21, Mayor Eric Adams announced new guidelines for drone usage in NYC. These new rules, creating a permitting process and guidelines, will allow deployed drones to perform certain municipal services in NYC.
“New York City is flying into the future, using drones to make city services faster and safer, and likely saving taxpayer dollars as well,” said Mayor Adams. “Drones are already saving lives, such as in the tragic garage collapse in Lower Manhattan, but their true potential is just taking off.”
According to Mayor Adams’ press announcement, the drones will assist façade inspection, maintain existing infrastructure for bridges and tunnels, and monitor beach conditions and safety.
Drones provide an advantage that humans would not be able to achieve on their own. “360 degrees views, going where humans can’t, drones will vastly increase the effectiveness and quality of our critical infrastructure inspections and ultimately the safety of New York City,” said Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi.
Following the new regulations, individuals and entities must apply for a permit through the NYPD in order to legally take-off or land a drone/unmanned aircraft. To ensure the privacy and protection of New Yorkers, the NYPD must also be notified when there is an accident during any part of the take-off, operation or landing.
Currently, drones in NYC are being used for necessary NYPD and FDNY emergency services. Drones most recently “[assessed] interior conditions and [conducted] searches for survivors without putting firefighters’ lives at risk” when the garage collapsed in Lower Manhattan.
“From patrolling the City’s 2,000 square mile upstate watershed, to conducting routine infrastructure inspections along the coastline of the five boroughs, drones operated by our skilled workforce are already helping us serve New Yorkers more safely and efficiently,” said DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala.