How 1960s Nuclear-Fallout Math Influences Today’s Drone Regulations

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May 22, 2017 | Originally published by Date Line: May 22 on

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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