How 1960s nuclear-fallout math influences today’s drone regulations

Research from drone company DJI details how today’s drone policy involves some questionable assumptions.

Recode photo illustration, original photos via Getty Images

By April Glaser

As countries around the world establish drone regulations, they seem to have settled on using a mass of 250 grams, or about half a pound, as the threshold to require registration and/or further permission to fly. That covers all but the smallest of consumer toy drones.

But a research report from DJI, the world’s largest drone company, suggests that weight is far too conservative — by a factor of almost 10x.

The report, embedded below, is technical and thorough (and, to be sure, self-serving). But it offers an interesting glimpse into how decades-old assumptions are sometimes used — perhaps incorrectly — in modern policy making.

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