Mexico is getting high on drones.
A lack of strict aerospace regulations combined with a growing manufacturing and aerospace industry could turn the country into the drone capital of Latin America. Mexico recently opened the first drone pilot academy in region, and now hopes to become a global competitor in the high-flying industry.
“We saw a wave of consumers buying drones, but they didn’t know how to operate them,” Jose Luis Gonzalez, director of Mexico’s Drone Academy and CEO of Unmanned Systems, told Fusion. So he opened a drone academy in Mexico City and began offering a 9-hour course. They’v already graduated 50 drone pilots in less than a year.
It’s part of why Mexico is fast becoming an ideal testing ground for the development of drones, Gonzalez says.
“Mexico has low production costs and there’s skilled labor that can turn the nation into a key player in the drone industry,” he said. “There’s a big entrepreneurial spirit here.”
Gonzalez isn’t the only one developing the Mexican market. A local company known as Unmanned Systems Technology International has released a drone known as MX-1, which is being marketed as “a proudly Mexican aircraft backed by thousands of hours of conceptualization, design, prototyping and flight tests,” according to its website. The MX-1 drone can allegedly fly for up to seven consecutive hours and reach a cruising speed of 68 mph. Other companies such as 3D Robotics are also fabricating drones in Mexico.