You guys all know how FPVs and personal and prosumer drones have been booming in popularity the last few years. But people who are in the industry know that drones are not a new phenomenon. Drones and unmanned aircraft have been used for monitoring, delivery and reconnaissance purposes for much more than the last couple of years or so!
We at DronesBuy.net have done a huge job of bringing together an amazing article that shows the evolution of drones as it happened through the ages, from the first unmanned balloon flight to the current usage of consumer, personal and commercial drones.
The "rise of the drones" (pun intended) has been in the making for a long-time. Quite a lot of different technologies had to come together to eventually enable the current version of fixed-winged drones and multicopters.
What we know today as autonomous drones, have been in use at least since the 1960s in the form of the Ryan Firebee (one of the first-jet-propelled drones). Unmanned aircraft have been used for surveillance purposes for much longer than that.
In fact, the drone used commercially and in the military, were the actual drivers behind the personal drone revolution. These drones have had a quite a significant role in the various historical events through the ages.
Yet there was an intermediate step between drones used for warfare and personal drones - the age when drones found plenty of commercial use.
These commercial drones have seen plenty of use in various industries:
- In construction and engineering, drones have been used to be able to quickly assess large areas, helping to monitor progress better through topo surveys, resulting in much better project management estimates.
- In utilities and telecom, drones have been used to provide much better and more accurate visual inspections of assets both for maintenance and as emergency response.
- In agriculture, drones are used to perform crop scouting and health monitoring and various other assessments of crops and plantations over large areas.
- And in cinematography, heavy cameras are hooked to commercial drones to create stunning visual shots without requiring the more expensive use of a helicopter.
- Even in search and rescue - drones have been used to quickly scout areas, assessing damage and looking for victims.
Like a lot of our technology, a significant part of their development came from enterprise, government and commercial use, with the R&D then trickling down to everyday use.
Here are some of the highlights of drone history:
- The first unmanned vehicle flight took place in 1782 by the Montgolfier brothers in France.
- In 1862, a patent for a flying machine which drops bombs was filed in Massachusetts.
- Nikolo Tesla was the first to use a remote controller to power an autonomous vehicle in 1898 in Madison Square Garden.
- In the 60s, the Ryan Firebee UAVs were used for the first time as military combat aircraft.
- Monitoring of climate using drones started in the 90s.
- And today drones keep hitting the headlines, sometimes for innovative uses and sometimes for privacy issues or safety concerns!
Have a look at the infographic below, or read the full article about the weird, wonderful and fascinating history of drones here: https://www.dronesbuy.net/history-of-drones/.