The History of Drones

Personal drones have been rising in popularity (pun intended) the last few years. But drones are certainly not a new thing. Drones and unmanned aircraft systems have been used for monitoring, delivery, reconnaissance and warfare purposes for much more than the last couple of years or so!

David Attard from has researched drones through the ages in this informative article that traces the evolution of drones over time, from the very first unmanned flight to the current boom of both consumer and commercial drones.

The drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle (which is how the drone started), had to go through plenty of phases. Many technologies had to come together to eventually enable the current version of drones and quadcopters.

Warfare, as always, was one of the primary reasons why unmanned technology was developed. As happens with a lot of technology, military or aeronautical research then trickles from government use to everyday uses.

And today, we can see that drones have become quite popular. Not as popular as smartphones, but the advent of such stuff as the small portable selfie drone – we are bound to see drones more and more often.

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Here are some of the highlights of drone history:

  • The first unmanned “vehicle” flight took place in 1782 by the Montgolfier brothers in France – but what was the actual vehicle?
  • In 1848, Austria used launches a secret bomb attack on Venice using drones.
  • Nikola Tesla was the first to use an actual remote controller to power an autonomous vehicle in 1898 in Madison Square Garden.
  • In the 60s, the Ryan Firebee UAVs was developed for the first time as a jet-powered military combat aircraft.
  • Monitoring of climate changes and weather using drones started in the 90s.
  • In the last few years, drone racing becomes a thing and official leagues are set up.
  • This year Lady Gaga uses drones with spectacular lighting effects as part of her Super Bowl show
  • And today drones keep hitting the headlines, sometimes for innovative uses and sometimes for privacy issues or safety concerns!

And how does Marilyn Monroe feature in the history of drones?

Have a look at the infographic below, and read the full article about the weird, wonderful and fascinating history of drones to discover all of the interesting stories around drones.

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