What exactly is a drone?

Posted by
January 14, 2014

What is a drone?

In this article, I will talk about what the word drone really means and what they’re used for.

What people think when the hear the word drone.

When you hear the word drone, usually the first thing that comes to mind is something like the MQ-9 reaper (an evil looking unmanned military plane that can fly thousands of miles with bombs strapped to the bottom of it). Yes, that MQ-9 reaper could be considered a drone, but that’s like calling a military tank a “car”. All drones are different and used for different reasons, so try not to think of just one specific drone the next time you hear someone use the word “drone”.

What “my definition” of the word drone is.

A drone is a radio controlled aircraft that can go out and do “work”, for example: retrieve video, audio, weather information or maybe even pick up a physical object and bring it back. If you have an RC multi-rotor, helicopter, or plane, then that would not be considered a “drone” until you put a camera on it to retrieve video. Now that you’re able to use it to retrieve data (video in this case), that is what makes it a drone.

What people use drones for.

People use drones for all kinds of things such as: 3D maps, law enforcement, aerial cinematography, crop dusting, search and rescue, delivery, recreation. The list goes on! It’s not a matter of what “can” you do with a drone but, what you “want” to do with it. Believe it or not, most people who build drones don’t use them for any specific reason other then to have fun. When you first get into drones, you try to come up with reasons why you need it and how it will help you, but once you build it, you realize that it’s way more fun to operate then you ever thought it’d be, especially once you get into what’s called FPV (first person view) flying.

If you’re thinking of getting into the hobby but you’re not sure if you really want to build a $400 drone yet, why not start small? There’s lots of small RC quadcopters and airplanes online for cheap to start out with, like the QR Ladybird quadcopter.

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