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I heard of some AI flown UAV's and was wondering. if I made my own AI flown drone/plane would I need a drone license? (Assuming I would use it for commercial purposes and not just for fun).

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    $\begingroup$ Are you saying that instead of you "manipulating the flight controls" of the drone (uav) you would write software that would independently manipulate the drone's flight controls, perhaps making AI flight decisions for which you might not have direct control over? In other words, AI is actually "operating" the drone and not you? $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Mar 15, 2023 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ A "remote" is the thing you control your television with, not your drone or model airplane. (Although that usage is becoming annoyingly more common these days.) Traditionally hobbyists call the thing you hold in your hands the "transmitter". The FAA likes to call it the "ground station". Ground control to major Tom... $\endgroup$ Mar 15, 2023 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ Surely this is no different than if you set the drone to fly a planned route and take off on a timer, i.e. it's still you doing it. $\endgroup$ Mar 15, 2023 at 23:46
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    $\begingroup$ If you think you can avoid doing the paperwork for a drone license by delegating the in-flight decisions to "AI", then you can be assured the FAA will take the complete opposite view. The amount of regulatory paperwork that would be required to fly a fully atonomous UAV would be enough to bury all but the most determined entrepreneurs. It may not even be possible (yet). $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2023 at 4:04
  • $\begingroup$ @WPNSGuy Sorry, AI may have been the wrong term, it would basically just be a program that would follow out a flight plan. It would not really be making its own decisions $\endgroup$
    – Pink Pit
    Mar 17, 2023 at 21:34

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Assuming USA, if it is above certain size points, you need varying levels of 'license'. Even if just for fun/hobby.

Commercial use always requires a license.

The relevant Commercial regulation is Part 107. "If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Part 107 guidelines. To fly under Part 107 rules, there are 3 main steps."

Finally, define "AI". The aircraft makes its own decisions about when and where to fly? Currently, that does not exist.

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  • $\begingroup$ and if it does exist it's still you who is giving the drone the ability to decide when and where to fly $\endgroup$ Mar 15, 2023 at 23:45
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    $\begingroup$ You can make a drone that autonomously chooses when and where to fly. It will make bad decisions. $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2023 at 1:15
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    $\begingroup$ @AnonymousPhysicist - That is not "intelligence". Just a rng selecting waypoints, within a prespecified range. $\endgroup$
    – WPNSGuy
    Mar 16, 2023 at 1:42
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Because nobody lets AI's run rampant - except for the nordic countries in season 3 of the BBC series Humans.

Every AI is under the responsibility of someone who caused it to be in that situation. If you train your monkey to fly an airplane, and let the little guy fly solo, it's you who will be paying to replace the Reaper drone the monkey collides with. Because you're the one who set that sequence of events into motion!

The best liability shield you could have is a corporation... but then that corporation better have sufficient cash on hand or insurance to cover its liabilities, or the courts will go after the stockholders.

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  • $\begingroup$ "the courts will go after the stockholders." I thought the entire point of a corporation was that the stockholders are immune from liability beyond losing their stock if the company goes bankrupt, except under the rare circumstances that allow piercing the veil? If what you said is true, and creditors can seize the assets of stockholders of bankrupt corporations, then there's really no difference between a corporation and a sole proprietorship or limited partnership with a savings account set aside for liabilities. $\endgroup$
    – Someone
    Mar 17, 2023 at 0:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Someone if you control a corporation then direct that corporation do crimes, you have various liabilities the corporation does not magically shield you from. If you direct the corporation to do sensible/legal business things but it gets into trouble anyway, then normal bankruptcy protections probably apply. There are some interesting questions on liability for AI lead decisions within a business but this question is not really the place to hash them out. $\endgroup$ Mar 17, 2023 at 6:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Someone Incorrect. I mean what you say is correct, but you misquoted me out of context. The rest of my sentence describes the "rare circumstances" that allow piercing the veil. Speaking of context, every statement on StackExchange is by definition in the context of a question. We are talking about letting AIs run loose, remember. A person who wraps that in an LLC instead of carrying insurance, and expects that veil to hold, is deluded. $\endgroup$ Mar 17, 2023 at 18:30

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