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Passenger drone tours ready for takeoff in Tulum, if permission is granted

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
The technology behind passenger drones appears to be ready, and now it’s up to aviation regulators to decide if and when they will take to the skies. Photo: Courtesy

A company called Los Amigos Tulum seeks to offer visitors to the Riviera Maya the opportunity to fly in a passenger drone.

The vehicle slated to carry visitors over Tulum is similar in appearance to commercially available drones for recreation and photography, but they are built on a much larger scale. 

Prototypes of commercial passenger drones, known in the aeronautics industry as autonomous aerial vehicles (AAVs) first hit the scene in 2016, but have just now begun trial flights in countries including Qatar, China, and the Netherlands.

“This is a very high-tech and safe electric vehicle which can be charged using renewable sources,” says Nico Wilmes of Los Amigos Tulum. 

The passenger drone has the capacity to transport up to two adults weighing no more than 500 pounds at a maximum speed of 80 miles per hour. 

Flight paths are to be pre-drawn by a ground crew that will supervise the flights.

Earlier: Drone photo at Chichén Itzá goes viral, but begs questions about laws

Though Los Amigos Tulum argues that the vehicle itself is ready for its maiden voyage, no firm date has been given as the company is still in the process of applying for permission to fly the passenger drone in Mexican airspace. 

“Passenger-grade AAVs have completed thousands of trial and demo flights in 21 cities and six countries including China, the U.S., Austria, Netherlands, Qatar, and UAE,” Ehang, the maker of the passenger drone to be used in Tulum, commented in a press release.

Beyond recreational and transportation purposes, passenger drones have been touted for their potential in evacuating people from dangerous situations and offering quick and efficient emergency medical transfers.

But despite the hype surrounding these vehicles, regulators around the world have been extremely slow to allow their full-scale commercial operation.

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