July 11, 2016
(Update: This proposal was approved at the July 21 Board of Regents meeting.)
The University of Michigan is proposing a revision to the Regents’ Ordinance to address the use of unmanned aerial systems – better known as drones – on or above the Ann Arbor campus.
The proposed revision would promote safety while still permitting appropriate uses of drones consistent with university policies and procedures.
It would enforce the hold issued in February by U-M executive officers, which generally suspended the use of all drones in outdoor campus spaces and public indoor spaces, and would allow for the enforcement of penalties for any violations. Laboratories and other designated areas where drone research or educational activities are conducted were excluded from the suspension and would continue to be exempted under the proposed Regents’ Ordinance provisions.
The proposed revisions:
• Define “UAVs” to include both autonomous and remotely controlled aerial vehicles.
• Make operation of UAVs from, on or over university property a misdemeanor subject to the same penalties set forth in the ordinance for other criminal violations.
• Create a civil penalty for those who assist others in operating a drone from, on or over U-M property.
• Authorize (both university and non-university) law enforcement to impound UAVs based upon a reasonable belief that the UAV is being operated in violation of the ordinance.
• Grant the executive vice president and chief financial officer, or designee, the authority to waive these provisions as appropriate.
• Exempt the operation of UAVs by law enforcement for law enforcement purposes and operation of UAVs in indoor and outdoor spaces designated by the university from the ordinance.