India's new drone regulations are set to change the landscape of the real estate sector from December, as the 3-D mapping of properties will not just become powerful tool for marketing but will further boost transparency and accountability, industry experts say.
The commercial use of drones under the recently announced DGCA norms has been made legal from December 1.
But delivery of payload, including food items, would not be allowed as of now, according to the regulations for commercial use of drones (unmanned aircraft) unveiled by civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu late last month.
According to a recent survey by PwC, the use of drones for the purpose of property mapping is becoming prominent, since it is easier to draw 3-dimensional map of buildings providing details such a built-up area and number of floors.
"The 3D mapping is helping to form a more realistic documentation of the properties in the cities, bringing in more accountability and transparency," it said.
According to Spenta Corporation director Anaisha Cooper, usage of drones will pave way to creating a seamless communication in each level of construction.
"Drones can provide a progress chart by gaining trust and assurance," Cooper told PTI.
Initially, drones will be permitted to operate only within sight and during the day, with a maximum altitude of 400 ft. Also, small drones, those in the nano category, weighing less than or equal to 250 gm and operating below 50 ft, as well as those in the micro category, weighing between 250 gm and 2 kg and operating below 200 ft, do not need registration.
Echoing similar views, Radius Developers COO Ashish Shah said that permitting the use of nano drones will open different avenues that will extenuate the customers' experience of purchasing a home.
"Drone photography/video is an apt way for developers to showcase the horizon of a project and actual views from higher storeys.
"The data collected using drones can also be used to compare original plans with the ongoing construction work to show customers how a site is progressing. Furthermore, this technology can help monitor different stages of an under- construction building to help manage resources," he added.
As per the regulations, drones, however, won't be permitted in certain no-fly zones such as airports, state secretariat complexes and military installations.
For developers, drone images and videos can be a very powerful tool for marketing.
"Drone video footage can provide dramatic views of the entire property. In marketing real estate, you're trying to get people's attention and get them to spend more time looking at the property.
"Real estate has always been a cut-throat competitive market, hence aerial photography and videography becomes a useful medium to represent a property effectively for providing a larger than life perspective," Ruparel Realty MD Amit Ruparel said.
Property portals, which are currently playing a larger roles in marketing of properties on digital platform are also gearing themselves to incorporate this.
"As a company, we keep upgrading ourselves. On the online platform, as customers rarely get a sense of what kind of view they will enjoy from their future homes, drone images become a very useful tool in completing the entire customer experience.
"We will also be creating a link on which the customers can view the drone images or videos," said NoBroker co-founder and CEO Amit Kumar Agarwal.