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The number of drones in Mexican skies expected to double this year

Police are using the devices to combat crime while criminals case homes with them

More than 2,000 drones were registered by the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC) last year as the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles continues to grow across a range of industries.

AFAC aviation director Pablo Carranza Plata told the newspaper Milenio that 2,140 drones were registered in 2019 and predicted that double that number will be added to the registry in 2020. The registration of drones, which is free, has been mandatory since December 2019.

Pilots of drones weighing 25 kilograms or more must also obtain a license. Not having one could result in a fine of up to 403,000 pesos (US $21,600).

Drones were initially used in Mexico mainly for recreational purposes but they are now also utilized in the agriculture, logistics, energy, academic and security sectors, among others.

Police are using the devices to combat crime in states including Guanajuato and Yucatán, while criminals are also flying drones to case homes they plan to burglarize and even smuggle drugs across the northern border into the United States.

“Drones are at the same point where computers were 30 years ago when people started to incorporate them into their work and recreation,” said Víctor Cuadra, founder and operations chief of Drones México, a firm that advises companies about ways in which they can make use of the aerial vehicles.

“[People] are starting to find new uses for [drones]. There are a lot of . . . sectors that are carrying out their own trials and seeing how they could help them,” he said.

Carranza said that the International Civil Aviation Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, has been working with all member countries since 2010 to help establish regulations aimed at ensuring the safe use of drones by business, government, security forces and private citizens.

In Mexico, the use of drones is prohibited within a radius of 9.3 kilometers from airports and they cannot be controlled from moving vehicles.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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