The head of the National Association of Realtors testified on the growing interest in the use of unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, their commercial application in the real estate industry, and Realtor perspectives on legislative and regulatory efforts to advance safe drone use in the commercial space.

On Thursday, NAR President Chris Polychron testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet at a hearing entitled “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Commercial Applications and Public Policy Implications."

“Commercial use of UASs has the potential to create new jobs and businesses specializing in their uses,” Polychron said in testimony before the subcommittee. “NAR and its members are excited about these possibilities but also understand the need to balance them with protecting the privacy and safety of citizens and other users of the country’s National Air Space.

"As end-users of drone technology, Realtors want clear regulation that permits the commercial application of UASs in a way that is affordable to users and safe for their communities, both on the ground and in the air," he said.

NAR has been working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration and others to advance a responsible approach to commercial drone use.

NAR joined the “Know Before you Fly” campaign earlier this year and is a part of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s “Multistakeholder Process: Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” a working group on privacy as it relates to the use of drones.

“Realtors have shown a consistent interest in the safe, responsible use of drones in the business of real estate, and I appreciate Chairman Darrell Issa and Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler for giving us the opportunity to share that perspective,” he said. “We look forward to a continued partnership with the committee as our work on this important issue moves forward,” Polychron said.

Although wide-scale commercial use of drones (like the one pictured) is currently prohibited, the FAA has worked to streamline a waiver process for individuals and businesses interested in using drones.

So far, the FAA has issued over 1,300 such waivers. A significant percentage of those waivers went to users in the real estate business.