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:
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 […]
- Posted by Caleb Kraft | September 26th, 2018 6:00 AM
If implemented, this network can deliver supplies from a blood bank to the hospital in minutes.
- Posted by Mike Senese | April 25th, 2018 11:14 AM
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.
- Posted by Caleb Kraft | March 14th, 2016 5:00 AM
One maker's quest to create an RC Imperial Shuttle from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, with servo-controlled retracting wings.
- Posted by Adam Woodworth | February 10th, 2016 11:25 AM
FAA announces registration requirement for drones
- Posted by Jon Christian | December 14th, 2015 10:43 AM