Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2018

Publication Citation

25 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 729 (2018)


Research and development into drone technology has exploded in the United States in the recent decades. From the operation of killer drones in the military to agricultural survey drones in farms, the proliferation of drone technology is well on its way to radically altering the American future. However, there remains numerous laws, policies, and regulations that place stifling restrictions on drone development and operations in America. Halfway across the world, China has also begun to experience the "drone revolution," but with its relatively laxer laws regarding both commercial and public drone operations and manufacturing, it seems poised to surpass the United States in not only drone R&D, but drone export as well. In recent years, China has expanded to become "a prolific developer and no-questions-asked exporter of UAVs" selling to a plethora of nations ranging from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan and Nigeria.' Domestically, China has relied firmly on indigenous production and R&D since the 1980s to expand its UAV technologies, expanding its UAV industry to include a variety of defense firms as well as academic research groups.2 However, China's drone program is not without its own issues and setbacks, forcing the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to issue new drone regulations to be implemented on a trial basis. This paper will analyze and compare the two comprehensive UAV regulations-the stricter FAA regulations and the newer UAV regulations promulgated by the CAAC and explore the differences between the two regulatory policies (both commercial and military), their benefits and drawbacks, and attempt to present solutions as to how the CAAC and the FAA can help build an initial framework for other nations to follow.