What is a Drone?
Estes Proto-X radio-controlled nano quadcopter
The word ‘drone’ has several meanings, but the one we’re concerned with refers to a vehicle without a human pilot. At Droner.ca we’re interested in multirotor aerial drones in particular, but there are plenty of other types of unmanned vehicles that move either by remote control or autonomously and we’ll check them out, too, if there’s an interesting story. Most of the drones we’ll look at on this site are used by hobbyists for fun or by private-sector professionals for a wide variety of tasks, from agricultural surveys to cinematography and yes, even security.
But drones are for spying and for killing people!
Plenty of people have strong reactions to the word drone.
Some folks immediately insist it is a ‘bad word’ and we should use ‘UAV’ (unmanned aerial vehicle), instead. Their idea is that because of military systems, such as the widely-reported armed Predator Drone or the high-flying spy drone known as Global Hawk, using UAV or any other word is better than drone because drones are only for spying or attacking people. Leaving aside the arguments for or against military systems that may reduce risk to troops, the idea that we should abandon a word because governments use specific types of drones in ways that make people suspicious or unhappy is just silly.
It makes more sense to embrace the term for all the other interesting applications these vehicles can be used for. The goal of this site is not to criticize governments for the way they use technology; there are plenty of political activist groups and website that spend time and energy on that. Instead, Droner.ca shares interesting, inspiring, and informative stories about all kinds of drone-related stuff. We’ll see plenty of multirotor drones, but we won’t avoid other types of aerial drones and if we find stories of land or water-based unmanned craft or even hybrids, we’ll show those too!
And we’ll keep calling them drones, because that’s a handy term, a good word for these unmanned craft. It’s nowhere near as awkward as saying “yoo-ay-vee”.