The History of Drones and What Made Their Popularity Take Off

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Credit: Pixabay, Webagentur-Meerbusch

Like the history of flight itself, the history of drones is filled with trial and error. 

But the result has been a trend, hobby, and in some cases, a profession built on these crafts. While you might have some experience operating them, you might not know the story behind the story.  We've taken a look at what makes these marvels fly and how they've improved over the years. If you're interested in learning more about the history of drones, keep reading. You might just gain a new appreciation for the fascinating flyers. 

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What Is the History of Drones?

If you take a close look at even the most basic consumer drone, it is pretty amazing. This small device is capable of climbing into the sky in a way nobody could imagine decades ago.


And as the technology improves, prices naturally drop. That means if you're shopping for a drone, you're going to get a lot for your money. But in appreciating the current state of the art, it pays to look back. So here are the key points in the history of drones that brought us here.

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Credit: Robert Lynch

What is a Drone?

The history of drones dates back more than a century. In 1916, the first attempted drone flight took place. It was called the Aerial Target and started an ongoing love affair with these clever machines. There are a lot of flying devices you can purchase. But drones refer to something pretty specific. So if we're going to discuss their history, we should start with a proper definition.

In basic terms, drones refer to unmanned aerial vehicles. Using this definition, the history of drones dates back almost another century. The Austrian military launched an attack using balloons containing explosives. You could classify modern drones as robots that can fly. Some have on board operating systems that allow them to fly by themselves. Others are controlled remotely by humans. In any case, there is going to be a lot of technology involved.

And as with any technology, it finds new uses and applications all the time. What you might see as a weekend toy is also used for serious military purposes. No matter what you want to use yours for, it's important to understand the history of drones.

A Historical Overview of Drones

How Have Drones Changed and Evolved?

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Like most technological advances, drones have become much smaller and specialized. What used to be a clunky and unreliable tool is now nearly perfected. Even out of the box, a pretty cheap drone will behave reliably and effectively. Plus, you need very little training, unlike those who operated early drones.

In fact, the earliest drones were so large that operators could get inside to take the reins. Even then, though, they could still be operated remotely. The increased simplicity and access has also led to many new applications. Don't be surprised if you see drones delivering packages in the not too distant future. That's the type of innovation the corporate world is looking forward to bringing consumers.

Then there are the public information benefits. Drones can bring us new perspectives of news events and other once in a lifetime images. Whether video or photographs, drones have increasingly become a source of stunning media. You can see the influence in a variety of industries. Farming, which might not seem the most technologically advanced, might be among the biggest beneficiaries. You can view your entire property from one location. This gives farmers a better idea of which crops are ready to harvest. It also shows them if any areas are damaged or need additional care.

How Has the History of Drones Influenced Other Aspects of Culture?

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Credit: US Army

In its most basic terms, the impact f drones on our culture can be arranged in two groups. Most of the time they've been used, it has been to maximize either safety or access. And in many cases, drones have allowed people to accomplish both at the same time.

As the concept began to catch on, we also saw a number of start up companies aiming to further refine drones. Some have sought to specialize the devices to meet particular uses. Then there is Amazon, which started the trajectory toward using drones for delivery. In fact, these devices are already saving lives in some of the remotest places on earth. It is here that drones can send life saving medicine to those who need it most.

There are even some pilot programs in some areas using the devices to deliver food. In one Virginia trial, folks can order burritos from Chipotle and pick them up from a drone. The history of drones is still being written. But more and more people are getting in on editing the next chapter. And that means it's not too late for you to get on board if you haven't already. In fact, this might be the best time to get involved in this high tech pastime. 


Recommended Products to Try Today

Here comes the fun part. Now that you have a better understanding of where they came from, let's see where they can go. Whatever you hope to use a drone for, we've found some of the leading contenders. So feel free to take control of your very own unmanned aerial vehicle. What starts out as a fun diversion might just turn into your next hobby or profession.

1. DJI Phantom 4 PRO Professional Drone

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Credit: Amazon

If you're looking for the best devices in the history of drones, this is a good place to start. First of all, the space age materials make it among the lightest in its class. Then there is the upgraded 20 megapixel camera that leads the industry. You can capture brilliant still images and videos from just about any perspective.

Then when it's ready to pack it in, just use the impressive return home function. It is much more refined than some systems. In fact, it will choose the best path based on whatever circumstances you put it in. The whole thing is controlled very easily with the remote. And there's also gesture mode, which allows the user to make hand motions that control its movement.

2. Parrot Bebop 2

https://www.amazon.com/Parrot-Bebop-Black-Skycontroller-White/dp/B0188LENCS/ref=sr_1_9_acs_osp_osp20-fdf7b4eb-e3_3tag=theluxauthority-20

Credit: Amazon

Maybe you're looking for something a little more recreational. If you're into drones as a hobby but want the best performance for the money, try out this one. It's got a great fish eye camera that captures some breathtaking content. A powerful battery means you can keep it in the air for a lengthy flight. 

Plus, it all comes ready to easily connect to your smart device. The controller is simple to use and the drone is very responsive. We also think it is one of the stablest drones in its price class. Feel free to fly in just about any weather with a rigid and robust frame built to take it.

3. Holy Stone F181C RC Quadcopter Drone

https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Stone-Quadcopter-Altitude-Function/dp/B00SAUAP5C/ref=sr_1_10_acs_osp_osp20-b302f25c-cb_2tag=theluxauthority-20

Credit: Amazon

There are an increasing number of inexpensive drones for folks getting started. Here's one of our favorites. All of its features and functions seem to work exactly as described. And it really isn't missing anything a typical hobbyist would notice.

You'll get a fine camera, easy controls and lots of functionality. Sure, it won't fly as long or as far as its costlier rivals. But if you're trying to learn the art, this is a good place to get your feet wet. It also makes a great gift for kids who might enjoy taking control of a cool drone.


The history of drones might be a little more complex than you realized.

But the most exciting part will probably be the future. As technology continues to advance, drones are keeping up. In many cases, these devices are leading the cutting edge.


We hope our guide has helped you understand these unmanned aerial vehicles a bit more. If so, share it with the tech fans in your life. And leave us a comment below if you have any final thoughts or questions.

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