In February 2012, Congress passed legislation that will ultimately open U.S. skies to unmanned aircraft systems (UAVs) operated by both civilians and commercial organizations as soon as September 2015.
The bill, the $60 billion Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, requires the FAA to eventually loosen restrictions to both accept and support the use of UAVs – drones – in the airways.
The impending loosened restrictions on UAVs has prompted organizations – including property management companies and real estate agencies – to learn how drones can benefit their business.
Drones in the hood
Real estate industry drone use is not a new concept.
Before the bill passed, temporarily restricting private and commercial drone usage until laws are better defined, many California real estate agencies were already using drones to photograph high-end estates and save on the cost of manned aircraft – until the Los Angeles Police Department grounded them over safety issues.
“These UAVs allow the end-user to have imagery that is fresher and more relevant, thus the imagery itself becomes a party of the decision-making process,” says David Record, CEO of Advanced Unmanned.
“The expansion of accessible, relevant data allows property owners, planners, and other entities to make (property management and other realty) decisions from a desktop rather than having to travel on-site to acquire the same information,” he added.
However, the drones raise Fourth Amendment privacy invasion issues. Individuals are constitutionally protected “in their persons, houses, papers and effects,” from unreasonable searches.
“Owning drones could easily be spun into bad press that a company might not be ready for. Additionally, high-tech sometimes means high-cost if you aren’t able to troubleshoot issues yourself,” said Joe Adkins, broker/CEO at the Realty Factor.
Bring on the drones? Or not?
What’s your take on drones circling over your neighborhood? Where is this issue going in the real estate and property management business?
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