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Five Ways Drones Are Relevant to Commercial Real Estate


The talk of drones being used in commercial real estate (CRE) may seem to have faded, but CRE professionals now are thinking bigger than just aerial photography and video tours. The implications for the many uses of drones in CRE may be game changing but will these changes ever come to fruition?

Discussion now centers on whether the use of drones could ever happen in a way that doesn’t invade privacy, that adheres to strict Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules, and that won’t clutter the airspace. Consider the following five ways drones are relevant to CRE.

1. Innovative Applications

Amazon already is testing delivery drones in an experimental phase, and other innovators are coming up with many new capabilities for drones. The average drone without all of the bells and whistles usually comes with GPS, autopilot, sensor technology, data processors, and aerial cameras. In the CRE industry, drones largely have been relegated to real estate photography and video tools. Today, drones come so fully equipped that even amateurs can master the technology, which now has leading CRE pros thinking beyond traditional drone uses.

2. Three-Dimensional Renderings

Instead of plain video and aerial photos, drones enable CRE agents to photograph in three dimensions. With the right platforms and programs, this drone technology can be used to allow prospective buyers and renters to manipulate property images in a way that allows them to “step into” the picture and imagine the space. Considering how many commercial deals happen remotely these days, some leading CRE firms currently are using this technology within limits.

3. Detailed Two-Dimensional Area Mapping

Most commercial drone operators have been using this technology in CRE for aerial mapping purposes in two dimensions. This use allows for better, more detailed map production and can capture images in terms of depth and volume.

4. Precise Land Surveys

Combining aerial drone mapping and three-dimensional technology to conduct inspections takes out a lot of the time and cost of land surveys. Especially for land deals that involve clearing unreachable areas of the land to be purchased, drones allow both sides to have a clear view of exactly what they are buying and selling.

5. Faster Area Inspections

Along the same lines, developers and builders are using drones to speed up the buying process. By eliminating physical hurdles that make inspections more expensive to conduct safely, drone technology is saving developers thousands of dollars. The construction industry alone accounted for more than a third of the $127 billion worth of drones sold last year.

Hurdles for Drones in CRE

Of course, standing in the way of all of these possibilities are legitimate questions about how to allow drones without disrupting or violating public airspace. If the FAA is to regulate drone technology, how difficult will it become to manage the thousands and thousands of drones hovering over urban centers? As these questions persist, drone technology will continue to be a distant reality for CRE. For more information about the relevance of drone technology and ways you can apply it to CRE, contact me today.

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Steven Miller
Steven Miller
1 (843) 706-8440
1 Westbury Park Way, Suite 200
Bluffton, SC 29910
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