In our quest to find new, useful real estate technology, we came across a drone with a twist. Now, before you groan at the hundredth mention of a drone for real estate purposes, you might want to take a listen at this one. Unlike drones you’ve heard about in the past, this one is made for the indoors.
Rook is the latest in drones that will have a number of interesting applications due to its focus on working primarily indoors. Started by a group of students at Northwestern University (now the company Eighty Nine Robots), the Rook provides users the ability to control the drone from anywhere in the world. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection and an Apple or Android device.
The initial use for the Rook is for a homeowner to monitor activity within his home while he is away. He can check on his babysitter, for example, check that he turned off the stove or just do a general sweep of the house. Operated by battery, when the drone’s work is complete, it flies back to its wireless charging station to get booted up for the next flight.
Rook as an application for real estate did not come to the immediate attention of Eighty Nine Robots CEO Jackie Wu and his team until real estate agents started to inquire about its possible use for virtual tours. The team immediately saw this application and are considering some of the questions they’ve been presented with to make it more apt for tours.
“This could be an easy way for agents to give a guided tour of a place, without having to go there,” said Wu. “It could be great to give the client a vantage point that they otherwise wouldn’t have, all without leaving the agent’s office.”
For now, the agents have the power to control the drone with their phones. The agents could then talk with the clients as they speak with them about the property. An option that the team is playing with for the near future is to allow potential clients to fly the Rook themselves. A security feature that limits use to a particular user would make this happen. Wu envisions the potential buyer going to the Rook website, clicking on the Rook app and flying the drone with certain key strokes.
According to Wu, the battery life should cover between a five- to ten-minute tour before flying back to the base station to charge.
The expected retail price of the Rook will be between $200 and $250. Since it is still in its prototype stage, Eighty Nine Robots is raising money for full development on Indiegogo. They have currently raised 211 percent of their $20,000 goal. Their current featured “perk” for donations is a Rook, to be delivered by December 2016, for the discounted price of $129.
If you want to be one of the first to have a Rook and would like to save up to $120, you can visit Eighty Nine Robots’ Indiegogo page and reserve yours today.
*Note: This blog post is not an endorsement for the Rook nor was Home Value Leads compensated for writing this story.