Edited and prepared by Oscar Michel, Masters in Journalism, DCU

Interesting guest post from David Attard from DronesBuy on the History of drones.

Wesbite here.

Who knew what a history there is behind modern day drones?!

Personal drones have been rising in popularity the last few years (pun intended). These small pieces of technology have really taken off, for one primary reason  – their ability to provide a different kind of view at an affordable price – something which up to a few years ago was only achievable with the aid of a helicopter or a small plane (and out of the budgetary reach of most people).

But today’s drones, have had quite an interesting history … starting from unmanned hot-air balloons, all the way to deadly-predator military UAVs, there were plenty of tiny steps which eventually lead to today’s technology coming together.

The rise of drone technology in use today has been in the making for a quite long-time.

What we know today as autonomous drones, have been in use at least since the 60s in the form of the Ryan Firebee (one of the very first-jet-propelled drones). But unmanned aircraft have been used for surveillance and military purposes for much longer than that – since the mid 1800s

In reality, the drones used in the military (and sometimes for research and commercial purposes), were the actual drivers behind the personal drone revolution.

It’s interesting to read and understand how drone tech has come about and how it has evolved over the years.

Plenty of different technologies had to come together to eventually enable the current version of drones and quadcopters – where you can find both cheap drones starting from $19 to expensive drones which run in the tens of thousands. The latter are of course used for commercial reasons, such as agricultural monitoring or cinematic videography.

And, like most pieces of technology, a good part of their development came from military use. The technology then finds it’s way in practical and everyday use, both commercially and in consumer tools.

Want to know a few interesting tidbits about history of drones?

  • The first unmanned vehicle flight took place in 1782 by the Montgolfier brothers in France.
  • The first military use of unmanned vehicles happened in 1848 in Austria where bombs were attached to balloons.
  • Nikolo Tesla played an important part in the evolution of the history of drones by developing remote control technology which he demonstrated using a boat in Madison Square Garden.
  • The first drone with a “camera” was deployed at the end of the 19th century! And yes, it was used for surveillance, not for taking selfies!
  • Marilyn Monroe was first discovered when working within a military drone facility.
  • These days drones are being used to create spectacular lighting effects in concerts such as the Superbowl by artists such as Lady Gaga.
  • Drones have unfortunately picked up a bad rep due to abuse and flying them close to airports putting commercial aircraft at risk.

And what’s next drones would you guess?

Have a look at the infographic below, or read the full article about the weird, wonderful and fascinating history of drones.


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