The Drone List Myth
Florida Statute 934.50, drafted and passed in 2022, contained a list of approved manufacturers (the “List”). Although it was a comprehensive statute covering drone uses and prohibitions, its most notable and newsworthy section, Section (7)(a-f), effectively banned drones and drone parts made in China for State of Florida Agencies. This statute was originally accompanied by a very short list of five (5) approved drone manufacturers (the “List”), and one of these five was no longer in business when the list was published with the Statute leaving only four (4). Not a big list to choose from. Three months after the effective date of the statute (January 2023), the Florida Department of Management Services, the Agency responsible for rule making, archived and nullified the List on April 5, 2023. So the List was only in effect for 3 months when FDMS replaced it with Rule 60GG 2.0075 of the Florida Administrative Code.
The recreational drone industry was up in arms over the effect of the List from the moment it was published. The drone press reported the industry upset and suggested the statute with its List might harm their beloved high quality inexpensive Chinese drone brands and products. They never seemed to notice it was replaced and retired.
Political lobbyists for DJI and other Chinese manufacturers have driven the myth of the List in the press, that it is still in effect, even though it died its natural death nearly a year ago. They say, that because the drones on the list are far more expensive and the selection so limited, that these non-Chinese brands appear a bad choice by comparison. Still, the myth of the List lives on. We see the List as a kind of “zombie” used to demonstrate the unfair policy of many State legislatures and the bipartisan halls of Congress. The truth is that Chinese drones which once held an 80% share of the market, have lost ground in the military and public safety sectors, and our critical data infrastructure is being protected by this legislation.
What Replaced The List?
Much like the Federal Government relies on both NDAA specifications of “critical components” and EO 13981 specifications of sub-components to create its Federal Standards for the DoD and other Federal Agencies, Florida rules are largely based on EO 13981 which are both tough and thorough. Effectively, Florida Rule 60GG is the toughest anti-China ban anywhere.
Some drone suppliers and OEMs assert their NDAA compliance, using disclaimers and alternative facts. An example of such assertions is the often used “NDAA 2020” compliant claim. In 2024, the 2020 NDAA standards are an historical footnote for Florida, and are not the guiding rule. EO 13981 (still in full force) introduced the standard of “critical components” within the systems. Florida 60GG.20075 uses the EO 13981 standards and wording exactly.
We’ve been speaking with a good number of Florida Agencies and law enforcement departments. Not surprisingly, given the press and Chinese lobbying, we found that many people in Florida’s Agencies are still guided by the Florida drone List. They consider themselves constrained to the 4 live manufacturers who appear on it. This is simply not the case. There is no longer a drone List in effect in Florida.
The constraint of the List is clearly a myth busted. All 4 of the manufacturers on the List primarily service the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and have DoD prices that go with the territory. Most aren’t even interested in civilian business and reserve their production capacity for the growing number of DoD contracts and larger volumes coming their way. Certainly the Drone Media does nothing to dispel the notion that the List is still in effect, and almost a year after the fact, little has been done to help everyone understand that Florida Rule 60GG is the governing standard.
CSpace Robotics CSR50 series drones are Florida 60GG compliant and Federal NDAA compliant. Our drones are made completely in Florida by Floridians. Florida law enforcement and other State departments may purchase and operate our aircraft without reservation or concern for the List.
List Myth Busted!