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More UAVs being used commercially in the U.S

April 28, 2014, Santa Fe, N.M. - A Santa Fe real estate agent is taking marketing homes to new heights, along with new complications in federal aviation laws.


April 28, 2014
By The Associated Press

Agent Brian Tercero has been using a drone to help advertise homes on
the market, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. Video footage from a drone can better convey
the appeal of a property than standard marketing photos of trees, he
said.

 

"Flying over (the property) adds a whole
other dimension," Tercero said. "It's powerful. And it was instrumental
in getting the buyer to bite."

 

The Federal Aviation
Administration has banned the use of drones for commercial purposes
except in the cases of those with special permission from the agency.
But a federal judge recently ruled that drones for commercial use don't
fall under FAA regulations.

 

In March, a judge with the National
Transportation Safety Board dismissed a $10,000 fine for a businessman
who used a glider to take aerial photos for a University of Virginia
Medical Center ad. The judge said the drone was not an aircraft as
defined by the FAA's own regulations.

 

The FAA is appealing the decision as it works on new regulations to cover drones.

 

Congress recently requested that the FAA devise a plan to safely integrate unmanned aircraft by September 2015.

Tercero said he should be able to use the
drone as a real estate agent if the homeowner gives consent. So far, he
said, the DJI Phantom, which is 18 inches in diameter, has been used to
show undeveloped land in northern New Mexico and for more high-end
listings.

 

"This just makes so much sense for out-of-state and out-of-country clients," Tercero said.

 

But what has become the
latest trend in the real estate industry has privacy advocates
concerned. Peter Simonson, director of the American Civil Liberties
Union in New Mexico, said the public doesn't get the same protections
against invasions of privacy when private entities use drones.

 

"A drone that hovers over a municipal
area with an extremely high-resolution camera captures video of
everything that transpires over a long period of time," Simonson said.
"That kind of data can discern people's movements, what meetings they're
attending, who is important in their life and why."

 

Hal Wingo, a client of Tercero's who has
been trying to sell his home for the past six months, said they are
being respectful of neighbours' privacy.

 

"We're not going to home in on
any other property. If someone felt you were looking down on their
house, they might not like that," Wingo said.