(NEW YORK, NY) — New York City developers are hoping for an amend to the 1948 law that bans the use of drones within city boundaries. The law states that it is unlawful for any person “ navigating an aircraft including drones, to take off or land except in an emergency, at any place within the limits of the city” making it illegal to fly drones in New York City.
Drone use has been a benefit to real estate developers in places such as Los Angeles and Chicago. The ban on drone technology essentially puts developers in NYC at a competitive disadvantage. According to the Wall Street Journal, New York City council members, Justin Brannan and Paul Vallone proposed legislation in 2018 that would allow for legal drone use but unfortunately the bill has been stuck in committee for 18 months.
Benefits of Drone Use:
Minimize the cost of inspections: City laws require that building owners inspect their facades every five years, according to WSJ. The process includes putting up scaffolding over the entire building which an ultimately cost hundreds of thousands of dollars with months worth of work. Drones offer inspections for a fraction of the cost and would allow for the building to save tons of money and can be completed within hours.
Planning and Layout: At renovation sites, drones could be useful for plans and layouts of a construction site which allows for designers and owners to visualize the location for future features.
3D Modeling: Drones allow for the ability to capture photographs and videography and transform them into a 3D model. By creating a 3D model of the building sites giving liberty to check, monitor, and assess the building site without having to physically be at the site.
Many benefits can come from the use of drone technology especially for new development in New York City. There are still many skeptics that believe drones will cause a series of problems including the loss of traditional hand on inspections. If the regulations were to change and drone use would be legal, factors of prioritization such as safety would need to be taken into account, considering both the dense population and threats of terrorism according to an NYPD spokeswoman.