Niagara Falls photography by Nina and Georgi Tushev

Niagara Falls drone photography by Nina and Georgi Tushev

The noun “drone” originally referred to a male honeybee. It was first adopted to describe pilotless aircraft (probably) during the 1940s, and has since expanded to include all pilotless vehicles, airborne or otherwise: Today, cars, boats, and submarines can be “drones,” too.

As computers and robotics have advanced, “drone” has started to imply a more sophisticated autonomy. The phrase “true drone” has been cropping up, lately, indicating a vehicle that is not only unmanned, but self-piloting: Tell it where to go, and it simply goes there without further instruction.

However you feel about the terminology, the technology of unmanned aerial vehicles is fascinating and is generally applicable whether your ambitions lie in the area of “true drones” or traditional R/C. Given limited space, we have limited our focus mostly to airborne examples, but here, too, many of the same ideas can be applied to drones on the ground, on or under the water, and perhaps even in outer space.

The Latest Drone News and Projects from Make:

 

DJI's Tiny Osmo Pocket Camera Looks Good For Stablized Project Documenting

DJI’s Tiny Osmo Pocket Camera Looks Good For Stablized Project Documenting

A few years ago, the only options for camera stabilizers were awkward rigs that required carefully balanced passive gimbals, or clunky, large weights strapped to the bottom of a camera to add shake-reducing mass. As the drone industry has pushed micro-gimbal technology forward, it’s fascinating to see it become implemented […]

Terrorize the Skies With This DIY R/C Flying Witch

Terrorize the Skies With This DIY R/C Flying Witch

Capture the spookiness of the autumn season with a life-size witch flying on a broom high in the skies.

What Happened to the Drones From Zano, the $3 Million Dollar Failed Kickstarter?

What Happened to the Drones From Zano, the $3 Million Dollar Failed Kickstarter?

Many of you probably remember the Zano drone, a kickstarter that raised over 3 million dollars, then collapsed, failing to deliver functional drones to backers. I’m not going to get into why it failed, but rather what happened to all those tiny drone bodies, circuit boards, and motors that were […]

Raining Blood? Drone-Flown Vital Fluid Network Proposed for Palo Alto

Raining Blood? Drone-Flown Vital Fluid Network Proposed for Palo Alto

If implemented, this network can deliver supplies from a blood bank to the hospital in minutes.

Check Out This Sneaky Railway Smuggler Tram

Check Out This Sneaky Railway Smuggler Tram

This goes without saying, but don't build one of these.

That's No Moon! That's a Death Star Drone

That’s No Moon! That’s a Death Star Drone

You have to see this amazing Death Star drone mod! It's huge and it's taking on planets and rebel fighters in this video from Flitetest.

Visualize the Scale of the Solar System with Drones and Football Fields

Visualize the Scale of the Solar System with Drones and Football Fields

Our solar system is big and that can make it hard to visualize. In this video Mark Rober uses drones to show the distances involved.

Imperial Shuttle GIF

Watch This Imperial Shuttle Drone Hover Ominously Through the Night

One maker's quest to create an RC Imperial Shuttle from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, with servo-controlled retracting wings.

Parrot Unveils 50mph Fixed-Wing Disco Drone

Parrot Unveils 50mph Fixed-Wing Disco Drone

At CES 2016 Parrot releases details about their upcoming fixed-wing flying drone with a built-in camera.

FAA Drone Registration Becomes Official on Dec 21, Costs $5

FAA Drone Registration Becomes Official on Dec 21, Costs $5

FAA announces registration requirement for drones