Today's Lithium Battery Transport Rules Govern New Drone Technologies

Drones are also being deployed to assist law enforcement in searches for missing persons and by nonprofits in peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2014 -- As Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - or drones - become more commercially available and the list of industries utilizing the technology expands, companies should be aware of the stringent transportation regulations applicable to the lithium ion batteries that power virtually every UAV.

These transportation regulations address the packaging, testing and size limitations (in Watt-hours and kilograms) of lithium ion batteries and UAVs (packed with lithium ion batteries). The rules also specify the number and size (in Watt-hours) of lithium ion batteries that may be carried on aircraft by passengers.

Major companies including Amazon and Google as well as the agriculture, film, journalism, telecommunications and real estate industries are discovering ways to maximize the commercial viability of small unmanned aircraft. Drones are also being deployed to assist law enforcement in searches for missing persons and by nonprofits in peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts. Researchers are using the unmanned aircraft to study and save wildlife.

A report by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International found the industry could create more than 100,000 new jobs and over $80 billion in economic benefits within 10 years after integration of UAV's into the U.S airspace system.

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to announce proposed rules for small commercial drones later this year. However, lithium ion batteries, the engine of the UAVs, are already stringently regulated by the FAA as hazardous materials (also known as "dangerous goods"). The FAA and other transport authorities around the world issue regulations that shippers of UAVs must comply with and that passengers must adhere to when carrying lithium ion batteries onboard an aircraft. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant civil penalties levied against companies whose employees are found to be in violation of these regulations.

If a company's employee is traveling with a UAV and spare lithium ion batteries, the U.S. and international hazardous materials regulations strictly prohibit spare lithium ion batteries from being placed in checked baggage. In addition, lithium ion batteries carried on the aircraft by passengers generally may not exceed 100 Watt-hours. However, slightly larger lithium ion batteries exceeding 100 Wh, but not exceeding 160 Wh, may be carried onboard the aircraft with the approval of the airline. No more than two of these slightly larger lithium ion batteries may be carried on the aircraft.

For more information, contact George Kerchner at PRBA at or 202.719.4978. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation and International Air Transport Association (IATA) have posted useful information on their websites regarding the lithium battery transport regulations and carry-on provisions. See and

About PRBA
The members of PRBA power the consumer electronics revolution. We deliver a safe, efficient, and essential power source for portable electronic equipment such as notebook computers, cell phones, power tools, PDAs, and MP3 players, as well as hybrid and electric vehicles. PRBA members produce approximately 70 percent of the world's lithium ion cells and account for billions of dollars in annual worldwide sales. With more than 70 members, PRBA is widely recognized as the nation's authoritative source for information on rechargeable batteries. Visit PRBA online at

Featured Product

BLE2 Series Brushless Motor & Driver

BLE2 Series Brushless Motor & Driver

The BLE2 Series replaces our popular BLE Series and continues our brushless motor advantages by featuring an all new compact, high-power and high-efficiency brushless DC motor combined with a Driver that can be digitally set and controlled via external DC voltage or by the front panel. The BLE2 Series can easily compete with larger 3-phase inverter driven motors in many more applications, with built-in simple holding torque function, saving space and increasing performance thanks to the advantages of a brushless motor design. The BLE2 Series has a maximum speed of 4000 r/min, achieving a speed ratio of 1:50 (80 to 4000 r/min). The new motor structure is small than previous models and enables high power and high efficiency while incorporating easy setting, installation and wiring. The new motor connector offers IP66 degree of protection and allows for easy and direct connection between motor and driver with two available orientation of cable outlet direction. Standardized use of stain