Skip to main content

Drones and Their Endless Uses

Are drones the future of commercial delivery?

Are drones the future of commercial delivery?

How Did Drone Get Their Name?

The term “drone” was first used by British instructors who produced radio-controlled aircraft in 1935 to train their soldiers. The step was inspired by the name of one of these models, the DH (The Queen Bee of 82B).

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), and Autonomous Drones

What’s the difference between Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), and Autonomous Drones?

MissionGO flew an uncrewed aircraft over 10 miles across the Las Vegas desert this past September to deliver a kidney. With the feat, unmanned aircraft could be used to deliver organs, a pioneering step in using unmanned aircraft for delivery services. Uncrewed aircraft have become more prominent and indispensable to our society, so it's important to understand the critical differences between uncrewed aerial vehicles, unmanned aerial systems, and autonomous drones.

UAV vs. Autonomous Drones

During the past few years, the word "drone" has become a catch-all term for various new devices. Drone serves its purpose in casual conversation, but it's too broad when used for more narrowly focused discussions.

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is any vehicle that a human does not control. Remotely piloted UAVs can be flown without a human on board. Unlike remotely piloted UAVs, autonomous drones are not controlled by humans.

Autonomous drones are controlled by an onboard computer, autopilot, and sensor system. Autonomous drones do not require human intervention in the process of taking off, flying, and landing.

Everything being equal, let the difference between these two innovative machine devices be crystal clear.

Drones and UAVs are often used interchangeably; however, drones must be capable of autonomous flight, whereas UAVs cannot.

The Father of Drones

Abraham Karem (born in 1937) is the father of drones by being the designer of fixed and rotary-wing uncrewed vehicles. He is the founding father of uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV) drone technology.

Fahrney, however, adopted the name 'drone' to refer to these aircraft in homage to the Queen Bee. The term conforms to its tasks as a drone could only function when controlled by an operator on the ground or in a "mother" plane.

When Was the First Drone Invented?

De Havilland developed the 82B Queen Bee aircraft for low-cost aerial target practice in 1935 as the first drone. In many circles, it is considered the first modern drone. But Israel was the first country that developed military drone technology after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, during which its air force sustained significant losses.

How We Became a World of Drones

Drones have changed warfare and unequivocally altered the character of militaries around the world in terms of strategy, action, and perception. The era of armed drone use has arrived, and the rapid proliferation of drone technology among states and rogue groups alike poses a new threat to the international community.

Countries With Armed Drones and Method of Acquisition

More than 10 countries have conducted drone strikes: the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates. But many other countries, including Saudi Arabia, India, and China, among others, maintain armed drones in their arsenals.

In New America’s World of Drones database, countries are sorted into three groups:

  • Those that use drones in combat,
  • those that possess armed drones but have not used them in combat, and
  • those that are developing armed drones.

A country’s drone capabilities are classified according to the U.S. Air Force tier system.

  • Tier I includes low altitude,
  • low endurance drones like the Orbiter;
  • Tier II is comprised of medium altitude, long endurance drones like the Reaper or the retired Predator; and
  • Tier II+ applies to high altitude, long endurance drones like the Global Hawk. Mini and micro drones are not classified in the tier system.

Top Drone Sellers

The United States, Israel, and China are the biggest producers and sellers of drones.

United States

The United States and Israel are the biggest producers and sellers of drones. America’s leading combat drone is the MQ-9 Reaper, manufactured by General Atomics, which the Air Force has used to support operations around the world for over decades.

After the September 11th attacks, the United States conducted the first strikes under the burgeoning U.S. drone program using the MQ-1 Predator, which the Air Force flew in combats for 21 years.

On February 27, 2017, the Department of Defense announced the retirement of the Predator drone to “keep up with the continuously evolving battlespace environment.”

The US First Non-NATO Drones Sales

The United States has sold drones only to NATO members but approved selling to India in 2018 If the deal goes through, this will be the first non-NATO sale the United States has initiated.

Israel

Israel’s IAI Heron is designed to compete with the Reaper. Israel is the largest exporter of drones in the world.

Israel accounted for 41 percent of all drones exported between 2001 and 2011, according to a database compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), though Israel refuses to release the full list of countries to which it has sold military arms.

A partial list of recipients includes:

  • the United States,
  • the United Kingdom,
  • Canada,
  • France,
  • Australia,
  • Germany,
  • Spain,
  • Brazil,
  • India,
  • China,
  • the Netherlands,
  • Azerbaijan, and
  • Nigeria.

China

China is a growing drone exporter and has filled gaps in the market with its more liberal export policy.

In 2015, China sold drones to:

  • Pakistan,
  • Iraq, and
  • Nigeria

All conducted strikes using armed drones supplied by or developed in coordination with, China.

In November 2013, Pakistan’s military unveiled two domestically produced drones that experts say appear to be based on China’s CH-3, a model which Pakistan also has in its arsenal.

The CH-3 is one of China’s popular models, with exports to both Pakistan and Nigeria, and an upgraded Chinese model, the CH-4, has appeared in arsenals across the Middle East.

On December 6, 2015, Iraqi armed forces released footage of a CH-4 in action, striking an ISIS position in Ramadi.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Jordan are reported to have purchased the CH-4 as well. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have operated unmanned versions of the CH-4 in their campaign in Yemen.

A new addition to the Caihong family, the CH-5, debuted in 2016. The CH-5 has increased altitude, operational, and payload capacities. In addition to many others, China has the Wing Loong II, which is its large reconnaissance and strike system, as well as the AV500W, China’s first strike-capable unmanned rotorcraft.

drones-and-their-endless-uses

Top Drone Buyers

India

According to SIPRI’s arms transfers database and Statista, India and the United Kingdom are the largest importers of drones internationally. According to a Business Insider report based on SIPRI data, India accounted for 22.5 percent of drone imports between 1985-2014.

In addition to its imports, India also has indigenous Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) in its drone arsenal.

On November 16, 2016, India’s Rustom-II, an armed Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) drone, successfully completed a test flight.

United Kingdom

From 2010-2014, the United Kingdom was the largest importer of drones, accounting for 33.9 percent of drone imports for this period.

The United Kingdom produces small, MALE, and Watchkeeper drones, which are based on an imported Hermes 450 drone from Israel.

The United Kingdom Protector RG MK1—a General Atomics MQ-9B Sky Guardian—will replace the previously used MQ-9 Reapers and will enter the market by 2024. The United Kingdom will also launch its efforts to develop drone swarms in the 2020s.

Types of Drones

The four main types of drones include:

  • Multi-Rotor Drones.
  • Fixed-Wing Drones.
  • Single-Rotor Drones.
  • Fixed-Wing Hybrid

Others:

  • Small Drones
  • Micro Drones
  • Tactical Drones
  • Reconnaissance Drones
  • Large Combat Drones
  • Non-Combat Large Drones
  • Target and Decoy Drones
  • GPS Drones
  • Photography Drones
  • Racing Drones

Why Were Drones Invented?

Although (initially built for military purposes), drones have seen rapid growth and advancements and made a break to consumer electronics. Their original use was as weapons in the form of remotely guided aerial missile deployers. Jun 29, 2020 (Invented to be used as weapons, but today, that concept has changed and has now covered a wide range of other exciting sectors such as…)

How Far Can a Drone Fly?

While toy drones can fly between 160 and 330 ft (50-100 meters), more advanced high-end drones can fly between 3 and 7.4 miles (5-12 km) away from the controller, and mid-range drones can fly between 0.3 to 1.8 miles (0.5-3 km).

How Much Does a Military Drone Cost?

According to Wikipedia, most military drones range from some thousand dollars to tens of millions of dollars. An ordinary “toy” drone you can get online or offline costs anywhere between $25 and $250. Slightly more professional ones can be just under $1,000. Jun 2, 2022.

The typical cost for a toy drone ranges from about $20 to $250. Camera Drones start at around $300 and go up from there. The DJI Mavic Pro (the best drone we've tested) retails for under $1,000. Professional drone users will spend tens of thousands of dollars to get the best image quality and flight time.

How Many Drones Are in the World?

The total number of consumer drone shipments worldwide was around 5 million in 2020. The number is expected to increase over the next decade, reaching 9.6 million consumer drone unit shipments globally by 2030.

The First Foldable Drone?

The DJI Mavic was a revolutionary drone that introduced the concept of a foldable consumer quadcopter. This meant it was one of the most portable quadcopters ever made while not compromising on any features, including camera gimbal stabilization and a long flight time.

Which Country Has the Most Advanced Drones?

The United States remains, by far, the world's leader in drone technology. A decade of extensive operational work with drones has given the U.S. military tremendous experience with UAV technology's architecture, design, and employment.

The World Biggest Drone Ever Made

The Alabama-based startup Aevum has unveiled a fully autonomous drone designed to release satellite-launching rockets in midair — and it's an absolute monster.

The Aevum Ravn X Autonomous Launch Vehicle is a gigantic 80-foot aircraft with a wingspan of 60 feet. The 18 feet tall monster weighs in at 55,000 pounds, which makes it the world's largest Unmanned Aircraft by mass, according to The Hill.

Rideshare Satellites: Innovative and the Future of Drones

The startup has ambitious goals: it claims the aircraft can launch satellites into space every three hours, seven days a week.

"Through our autonomous technologies, Aevum will shorten the lead time of launches from years to months, and when our customers demand it, minutes," Jay Stylus, founder, and CEO of Aevum, said, "This is necessary to improve lives on Earth. This is necessary to save lives."

According to the company, the massive vehicle is 70 percent reusable in its current form but will be up to 95 percent reusable shortly.

The startup has also already worked with the Space Force to launch the nascent service branch's first small satellite launch mission.

Thanks for reading!

Kindly comment, follow and subscribe for my posts.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 PEDRO O THOMPSON--- P O T