June 27, 2022

47 | New Mexico

Score: 3/100
  • Brent Skorup

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  • Airspace Lease Law: 0/30
  • Avigation Easement Law: 0/25
  • Task Force or Program Office: 0/20
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: 0/10
  • Sandbox: 0/10
  • Jobs Estimate: 3/5

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Jobs Estimate: New Mexico is in the middle quintile when it comes to the number of drone-related jobs per 100,000 people, receiving three out of five points.

Factors Hindering the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: New Mexico law does not allow public authorities to lease low-altitude airspace above state and local roads. An airspace lease law would allow state or local officials to create drone highways above these roadways.
  • Avigation Easement Law: New Mexico law does not create an avigation easement, which means drone operators may be subject to nuisance and trespass laws, even if their drones do not disturb people on the ground.
  • Task Force or Program Office: State leaders should consider convening a statewide drone task force or creating a drone program office within the transportation department.
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: New Mexico law does not expressly provide air rights to landowners, which raises litigation risk for drone operators because landowners do not know the extent of their property rights and may sue to protect their interests.
  • Sandbox: New Mexico does not have a drone sandbox. There is a major drone test site and airspace access at New Mexico State University facilities, but there does not appear to be an affiliation with the state transportation agency. State officials should consider dedicating state facilities and airspace to commercial drone testing and should have a prominent, open invitation for drone companies to test their hardware and services.

These factors make New Mexico the 47th most drone-friendly state in the country.