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:


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