Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle. Its flight may be controlled by onboard computers (autonomous aircraft). They also can be controlled by the remote control of a pilot (remotely piloted aircraft).
In the past, the drones have found military and special operation applications. Today they are finding uses in civil applications. They may be used for security work, help firefighter, inspect power lines and so on.
The term drones is widely used today. However this term meets with strong opposition from aviation professionals and government regulators. Indeed, they prefer the “correct” term of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
The earliest known attempt to conceive a powered drone or UAV was made A. M. Low’s “Aerial Target” device in 1916. But it’s the Israeli Tadiran Mastiff, which was launched in 1973, that is seen as the first modern battlefield UAV. Today, military UAVs are being used by dozens of countries.
Civil and commercial UAVs are designed for civil and commercial applications. These devices have different range and altitude capacities. Private citizens use UAVs for recreation or other purposes. For example these engins can be used for land assessment. Drones are used in search and rescue operations. Surveillance applications can help monitor wildfire mapping, pipeline security and so on. Drons have been tested as airborne lifeguards. They can locate distressed swimmers using thermal cameras and dropping life preservers people in distress.
In the United States, FAA regulations permit hobbyist drone use when they are flown below 400 feet. The flying machine must always be within the UAV operator’s line of sight.
Let’s remind you that drones of UAVs were used in search and rescue after hurricanes struck Louisiana and Texas in 2008. Since 2012, the Nepal National Park and Kruger National Park in South Africa use drones to monitor rhinos, tigers, and elephants and deter poachers. In Peru, archaeologists use small drones to speed up survey work. Drones also protect sites from squatters, builders, and miners.
Today some universities offer UAV research and training programs or academic degrees.
DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Parent. Photograph: Amazon.com