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 been used in military and special operation applications. Today they are finding uses in civil applications as well. They may be used for security work, to help firefighters, inspecting power lines, and more.
The term “drones” is widely used today. However, this term is met 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. However, it’s the Israeli, Tadiran Mastiff that launched the first modern battlefield UAV in 1973. 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, they can be used for land assessment, and in search and rescue operations. Surveillance applications can help monitor wildfire mapping, pipeline security, and more. Drones have also been tested as airborne lifeguards. They can locate distressed swimmers using thermal cameras and drop life preservers to people in distress.
In the United States, FAA regulations permit the use of hobbyist drones when they are flown below 400 feet. The flying machine must always be within the UAV operator’s line of sight.
Drones, or UAVs, were used in search and rescue missions after hurricanes struck Louisiana and Texas in 2008. Since 2012, the Nepal National Park and Kruger National Park in South Africa has used drones to monitor rhinos, tigers, and elephants, and to 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.
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DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Parent. Photograph: Amazon.com