The bill passed with 397 votes in favor (out of 500) and if approved by the Senate and the president it will redefine the legal term “airplane” in order to include aerial vehicles operated at a distance (drones).
Aprobamos reforma que faculta a SCT a emitir normas sobre operación de sistemas de aeronaves. ℹ️https://t.co/WS5KxmUe1g
— Cámara de Diputados (@Mx_Diputados) November 2, 2017
We approve the reform that allows the SCT’ to issue regulations on the use of airplane systems.
- Read more: Latin America: A Burgeoning Market for US Drones
The reform introduces into the Civil Aviation Law the concept of a “remotely piloted aircraft system”, defined as “the set of configurable elements composed of an aircraft capable of maintaining autonomy in the air, its associated remote pilot stations, the necessary command and control links, as well as any other elemental system that may be required at any point during the flight operation.”
Based on this, the SCT will determine the “classification and particularities of remotely piloted aircraft systems,” the “uses and purposes of the devices,” and “the requirements for granting authorizations and licenses.”
With this initiative, Mexico seeks to establish clear standards in the drone industry and lure investors away from other countries that lack guidelines.
The reform also mandates drone owners must request a permit, register their units, and purchase insurance policies.
The SCT will be responsible for carrying out investigations regarding damages caused to third parties and collisions that may occur with other objects; however, the owners will be held accountable for said damages.
The document also states that standards for drones “should not be less demanding than those that apply for manned aircraft, nor should they restrict the Remote Piloted Aircraft System from complying with these standards.”
— Cámara de Diputados (@Mx_Diputados) November 1, 2017
Congresswoman Lorena del Carmen Alfaro García said the reform addresses an issue of utmost importance, since security measures must go hand in hand with technological advances.
“The devices or instruments invented to fulfill certain recreational functions, most of the time, end up being the ideal means for crime, and the lack of regulation and control over devices such as remotely piloted aircraft systems, better known as drones, demonstrate this tendency clearly,” she said.
It is necessary to emphasize that drones have a wide variety of shapes, sizes, configurations, and characteristics that have been gaining presence in the market.
Drones were initially created for military uses, but are currently employed in a wide range of cases such as music festivals and sporting events. Many are used as to take photo and video during demonstrations, and it is also common to see them as recreational toys, or even for surveillance.
Governments such as those of the United States and Spain have been promoting the use of these aircrafts and have used them for border surveillance. In Mexico, The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the Gran Acuífero Maya (GAM) projects, are also looking to take advantage of the new tool in order to map out the geography of Chichén Itzá.