The Federal Aviation Administration today approved the use of unmanned drones for six Hollywood Film Companies, opening the door for more widespread commercial use in the future.
Other drone applications include agriculture, news gathering, and retail deliveries. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos made headlines last year by revealing the company is experimenting with retail package delivery by drone.
The real estate industry is poised to pounce on drone technology, which will enhance existing google earth and street view imagery to feature a property relative to it's surroundings. Officially, the National Association of Realtors has cautioned members not to use drone technology until the FAA adopts new rules to govern commercial use. Hobbyists are exempt from laws banning unmanned aerial devices, while businesses are prohibited due to concerns about safety and privacy.
Some realtors and commercial photographers ignore current laws and shoot eye-catching imagery from above. Overall however, the real estate industry watches from the sidelines for fear of fines or lawsuits. The following video from a drone enthusiast in Hawaii named Justin Edwards demonstrates the tremendous potential for drone use with real estate. Right around January I'll be checking flights to take me where this drone is flying.
Today's ruling was prompted by pressure from the Motion Picture Association of America which states it can shoot aerial photography with greater safety and for less money than traditional helicopters. "Transformers: Age of Extinction" and "Skyfall" were filmed with drone technology overseas, where regulations are less stringent.
There are limitations with the ruling. The film makers must notify the FAA in advance of filming, they must fly lower than 400 ft., and use a licensed pilot to fly the drone.