New guidelines for the use of drones

March 22, 2017

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs), also known as unmanned aerial vehicles and drones, have become increasingly visible in parks and open spaces across the country. The use of UASs can make significant contributions to MIT research, education, service, and outreach in a variety of disciplines. MIT seeks to permit UASs to be utilized productively by members of the community.

UAS flights can pose safety and privacy risks in a campus environment such as MIT?s. As a result, the Institute has enacted a new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Interim Standard Operating Guide (SOG) governing the use of UASs at MIT. The Guide establishes certain procedures to ensure compliance with applicable federal, state, and local regulations and to reduce risks to persons, property, security and privacy. This Guide applies to:

  • MIT employees and students operating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in any indoor or outdoor location, including off campus, as part of their Institute employment or as part of Institute activities;
  • The operation by any person of unmanned aircraft system or model aircraft on or above MIT property; and
  • The hiring or contracting for any unmanned aircraft services by an MIT DLC.

The new procedures come out of a deliberative process that brought together stakeholders form across the Institute in recent months to formulate UAS guidelines for the campus.

The operation of UASs is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and changes to the regulatory framework are emerging and multi-faceted. As the law continues to evolve, this Guide will be modified as needed to remain compliant.


For additional information contact the EHS Office,