The Property Drone Consortium (PDC), A recently established coalition of insurance carriers, roofing industry leaders and supporting enterprises calling itself the "Property Drone Consortium" (PDC) has said it's launching a new research initiative into the use of drones in the real estate industry, together with the Rochester Institute of Technology, a renowned world leader in imaging science.
The program will assess the usefulness of various Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and a variety of sensors for up close property inspection.
“The unique collaboration to enhance commercial use of unmanned aerial imaging is very powerful for the members of the PDC. The PDC expects to assess imaging technology that will enable safe operations and inspections while gleaning far more than the eye can see,” said Charles Mondello, President of the PDC.
Within the past year, the PDC has secured a number of FAA regulatory approvals including Section 333 exemption grants, a 333 amendment and blanket Certificates of Waiver or Authorization to permit the use of a variety of UAS platforms for aerial data collection including the inspection of properties for the insurance and construction industries. However, with the FAA having now passed its official guidelines on commercial drone use, its paved the way for hundreds of real estate professionals to take to the skies. As such, the PDC is working closely with the IBHS to lead a research effort that focuses on the collection and processing of intelligent images utilizing drone platforms and their subsequent assessment for property exteriors, specifically roof damage detection. The addition of detailed imaging sensors will drive the awareness of drone capabilities in the sector.
“RIT looks forward to applying its expertise in remote sensing, sensor technologies, and machine learning to help the Property Drone Consortium to utilize unmanned aerial imaging to its fullest potential,” said Professor Carl Salvaggio. “We have never before had access to the data that these platforms and miniaturized sensors will allow us to collect. This data will enable us to see many roof maladies and allow our students to develop methods for automatically identifying these features from the imagery, enhancing the insurance and roofing industries ability to do an even better job of protecting their workers and the public they serve.”
PDC President Mondello explained that this research is the tip of the PDC program. “We are looking at funding additional programs in close proximity operations. The PDC is focused on partnerships within the public and private sectors to best understand how the UAS can be safely integrated in inspections and existing workflows to benefit the public,” stated Mondello.