The Making of Drones – 10 Milestones

Drones are on a high, literally. They are being applied for a vast range of application including retail, logistics, military, recreation, aerial photography, and warehousing, among others.

Since 1907 when the world’s first drone was made, the unmanned air vehicles have risen in demand and popularity. Today, they are a household term.

Below are the ten milestone moments that catapulted the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or the UAV into becoming a mass product in 2018.

1907 – The drone is invented

The inventor-entrepreneur siblings, Jacques and Louis Bréguet, collaborated with Nobel Laureate Charles Richet, to create the first drone. It was then called a quadcopter and had several major drawbacks.

1917 – The first unmanned winged air vehicle is launched

It was named the Ruston Proctor Aerial Target. The drone had remote radio control and used the RC technology from Nikola Tesla, its inventor. It was designed to morph as an airborne bomb that could be piloted and dropped remotely. However, the drone was never used in real-life warfare.

1943 – The birth of the first military drone

Germany invented the first remote-controlled aerial vehicle during WWII. Named Fritz X, it dropped 2,300-pound bombs on enemy ships and is considered to be the forefather of contemporary anti-ship weaponry.

1960s – The drone’s popularity swells

Important innovations were made in the drone technology throughout the decade, the most significant being the miniaturization of radio components.

With this innovation, the drones became inexpensive and went into the shopping list of a wide range of customers. Be they the children’s plaything or the larger outdoor recreation models, drones became an affordable fancy.

2001 – First-ever drone strikes

This happened when the CIA began using armed drones against the Taliban in the aftermath of 9/11. In 2002, a drone strike purportedly aimed at Osama bin Laden hit a hapless civilian, and UAVs were clouded in the fog of diplomatic controversy.

2006 – The dawn of the business-minded drones

By this time, corporations large and small had realized the potential of drones in the commercial domain. The Federal Aviation Administration or the FAA started issuing commercial licenses for drone applications. The show The Good Wife in season 7 had an excellent episode on drones.

2010 – The Parrot Drone arrives

Parrot, the French UAV manufacturing company launched Parrot, a drone entirely controlled by wireless Internet through a smartphone. It became an instant hit.

2013 – Big guy Amazon enters the scene

The company’s founder Jeff Bezos unveiled his plans to use drones for e-commerce retail deliveries. The concept was revolutionary, and soon caught the imagination of many entrepreneurs and caught the smart and politically savvy Bill O’Reilly off-guard.

2015 – The disaster named Lily Drone

This was another disruptive idea that used drones for aerial photography and videography. However, the Lily Drone camera failed big-time, and the start-up went bust.

2016 – The era of smart drones

With new technologies and smartphone applications being integrated into drones, the creatures became smarter.

Using computer vision powered by machine learning, some of the latest drones can circumvent upcoming obstacles and track targets uninterruptedly. This heralded a new chapter in drone photography and other visual applications of the drone.

 

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