2.2. Factors for Drone Regulation Compliance: A Literature Review
For regulatory compliance, a sense of civic duty can serve as a motivation [17
]. The role of civic duty has an independent and significant impact on regulatory compliance among other motivations for compliance such as fear of punishment [24
]. For compliance with drone regulations, drone users are likely to draw on their motivation to contribute to socially responsible use of drones. Public safety is one of the main issues facing drone use [16
]. A sense of duty to promote safe use of drones can serve as a motivation for drone users to comply with drone use policies for safety. Similarly, since an invasion of individual privacy by drones taking pictures or video footage is another concern of the public [19
], drone users can be motivated by a sense of duty to protect other people’s privacy by following government drone-use regulations.
However, individual drone users also have concerns about compliance with drone use policies. The FAA requires small drone users to register their drones if the weight of the drone is between 0.55 and 55 pounds [25
]. Commercial drone registration requires individuals to provide their names, mailing addresses, e-mails, and models of their drones. Drone users could have a concern about their personal and drone-use data being shared or leaked, which could infringe on their individual privacy. Moreover, the emerging nature of drone regulations could also raise concerns among drone users with regard to being targeted for regulatory enforcement when their addresses and drone models are known to the regulator. At the same time, it should be noted that the concern could be mitigated by the lack of enforcement by FAA. FAA does not have the enforcement staff to enforce drone safety regulations. It relies on local governments for enforcing drone safety rules in a city.
Societal trust in drone technologies is requisite for realizing the potential benefits of drone uses [18
]. It is crucial for society to have confidence that drones will not compromise safety and security and will not be misused by the government or individuals. To address trust concerns from the community in government use of drones, the U.S. Department of Justice supported the development and publication of Guidelines to Enhance Community Trust [4
]. Moreover, a growing number of government agencies, especially law enforcement, have started using drones, and more states in the United States have published local drone laws to regulate drone use to be accountable to the general public.
Such societal trust is inclusive of trust in government along with products, technology, and companies [18
]. Public trust in government’s fair and effective implementation of drone regulations is likely to be an important factor for successful drone regulation implementation. An effective regulatory strategy needs to include fostering trust in government in addition to incentives and enforcement [27
]. Trust in government can translate into compliance [28
] and encourages individuals to follow government regulations. Empirical evidence suggests a correlation between level of trust in government and that of individual compliance [21
]. Such trust in government among drone users is likely to be translated into drone policy compliance.
Knowledge plays an important role in citizens’ acceptance of drones in public life. An increase in public knowledge about drones may likely change people’s position toward drone applications in the community. Therefore, industry communication and media coverage might influence the ultimate positions adopted by the public [30
]. Exploration of public acceptance of drones suggests that the public is not aware of most of the future drone applications nor many current applications, and does not have a high rate of acceptance for drone use at present except for public safety and scientific research applications [31
Knowledge about regulation is likely to form the foundation for regulatory compliance [32
]. Unlike taxes and traffic laws, regulatory requirements for emerging technologies may not be common knowledge. As a result, drone users may be in non-compliance because of their lack of knowledge about regulatory requirements for operating drones. Information about drones in the public sphere typically comes from mainstream news media, movies, and TV series [31
]. In mass media, the specific requirements for drone regulations and compliance are usually not the emphasis. As a result, current and potential drone users do not have the benefit of mass media coverage to learn about the applicable drone regulations and their requirements.
Training and outreach can play important roles in bridging the knowledge gap about the specifics of drone regulations and actions required for compliance. Currently, drone users are required to pass an aeronautical knowledge test for commercial UAS operation license [25
]. Potential commercial UAS users could get training from a variety of avenues, such as institutions, aviation training agencies, clubs, online resources, or self-study. To be licensed as commercial UAS operators, participants are expected to have a professional knowledge and practice of UAS-related regulations and codes of conduct. Therefore, UAS training is one of the essential approaches to ensure the safe use and integration of UAS into other sectors in the smart city environment.
Despite the FAA’s current work developing an aeronautical knowledge test that will be mandatory for recreational drone users, the present laws do not require recreational drone users to acquire formal training or pass a knowledge test. Outreach and informal training have been practiced in many disciplines to engage targeted group with resources, information, or services, and with the goal of ultimately changing behaviors. Aviation and STEM education are two example areas in which outreach programs are widely implemented [33
]; recreational drone users present a novel group that could benefit from well-tailored outreach programs. Participation in drone-related club activities is one of the forums for drone users to share information and get training. Drone clubs in high schools and colleges or in local communities could serve such a role. Support to these club activities and provision of training could further the goal of ensuring safe operation of the drones and avoidance of any intrusion into people’s privacy.
The perceived legitimacy of the governmental body can shape the level of compliance by the general public [26
]. For perceived legitimacy, context matters [34
]. In the case of drone regulations, efforts have been made by federal, state, and local governments to address issues of safety and privacy. The U. S. Department of Justice supported the development and publication of guidelines for implementation at the local level [4
]. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a fact sheet providing examples of UAS laws likely to fall within state and local government authorities [36
]. As of 2019, 18 states have published state laws to further regulate drone operations—in addition to the federal level drone regulations [37
]. These drone-related state laws cover certain restrictions that are also included in the federal drone regulations. For example, Arkansas prohibits drones flying over property, including correctional and other facilities for utilities, defense, telecommunications, and railroads [37
]. In addition, many states formed UAS task forces to monitor, regulate, and report drone operations to improve the regulation of drones, such as the Joint State Government Commission on UAS in Pennsylvania and the Advisory Group on UAS in Ohio [38
]. The perceived legitimacy of the main government body (either federal, state, or local) is likely to influence drone users’ compliance behavior.
The purposes of drone use are likely to matter in regulatory compliance. Currently, different federal laws are regulating the use of drones based on purpose. The FAA published Part 107 under the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations for commercial use of small UAS in 2016, which requires drone owners to obtain a remote pilot certificate to operate small UAS for commercial purposes by passing an aeronautical knowledge test or completing online training [25
]. Although a new rule was introduced by the FAA’s Reauthorization Bill to require knowledge and safety test for recreational drone users, no remote pilot certificate or qualification test is currently required for recreational drone users [25
]. The current UAS regulatory requirements result in different mastery and practice of aeronautical knowledge between recreational drone users and commercial drone users. It is important to understand those who operate drones for recreational purposes because they constitute approximately 70% of the registered drone use. More importantly, easy access to drone technology and the lack of a knowledge test requirement may make regulatory compliance challenging among recreational drone users regardless of their intention to comply with relevant rules.