Apple has retained Lisa Ellman, a lawyer specializing in drone and aviation law, as a Washington lobbyist, reports Bloomberg.Ellman, a partner at law firm Hogan Lovells, leads her firm’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice and also co-founded the Commercial Drone Alliance. She has been doing lobbying work for Apple since December.
Apple since 2016 has been using drones for data collection purposes to boost the quality of Apple Maps. Apple’s drones are able to capture and update mapping data faster than the LiDAR-equipped minivans that it has used to collect mapping information since 2015.
Apple in 2018 was also a participant in a pilot program that allows the company to operate drones in ways restricted by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Apple partnered with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to use drones to capture aerial mapping data.
Bloomberg suggests that Apple’s new lobbying efforts indicate a new push into the growing drone field. Apple also has a team working on satellites that Ellman could potentially assist with when it comes to regulations.