Peter Majtan

The (ab)use of the word "DRONE"

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What is "drone"?

There has been common misunderstanding of both general public and even some industry professionals about the use of the term "drone". Unfortunately this term was introduced to the public via its more negative association with military use and the global media has adopted this term - may we add incorrectly - pretty much for any remotely-controlled aircraft. If we ignore the meanings related to bees and drudges - the actual meaning related to our industry is defined as "an unmanned aircraft or ship that can navigate autonomously, without human control or beyond line of sight". This makes perfect sense for how this type of UAS are deployed by the military. But it is incorrect to apply this same term to directly-controlled UAV's and UAS's. For example a remotelly-controlled (RC) hobby helicopter is simply not a "drone". The RC community has been "doing their thing" for decades without bothering anyone or posing major danger to general public and aviation. They are the "victims" of the success of multi-rotors - which made flying that much more easier...

The easiest way to explain this on a real-world example is to use the most popular and publicly recognized UAV - the DJI Phantom...

The Phantom can be flown in both direct-control and autonomous modes, as well as a combination of the two - blurring the boundary between "drones" and "RC aircraft". When flown for filming purposes - in majority of the cases it is flown as directly-controlled RC aircraft (in this case a "multirotor helicopter"). But when we use it for other purposes - such as 3D terrain mapping - it is flown under autonomous-control using specialised software and GPS navigation. In this case it becomes a "drone". While this should clarify the difference between "drones" and other types of UAS - this also highlights the confusion surrounding these systems. It really comes down to how these systems are being used and for what purpose. For example a simple brick, when used to purposefully harm someone, then becomes officially classified as a "weapon". Does that make all bricks a weapons? So unless an UAS is specifically designed as only autonomous (like the ones used by the military) - what defies “drone” is really just the mode of use. But using the word “drone” in the fashion and manner as it if being used by the news outlets, general public and even some industry professionals is equivalent to calling all cars SUV’s...   

And while we are at it - here is one (or really two) more related terms...: 

Difference between UAV and UAS.

Another common confusion is with the use of the terms UAV and UAS. UAV stands for "Unmanned Aerial Vehicle(s)", while UAS stands for "Unmanned Aerial System(s)". The key difference is that UAV is just the actual aircraft being remotely-controlled. UAS on the other hand is the complete system that includes the UAV, its "payload" (in most cases s camera), all the remote-control HW & SW and it also includes all the wireless radio-communication technology - and in our case the video downlink. It also includes all the ground-based controls, monitoring and other support technologies as well as the crew men (and women) involved in its operation. This is why it is called a "system"...

Feel free to share your thoughts...
 
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Simple, I refuse to use the word. When others use it in my presence I tell them a drone is a male bee and that the proper term is UAV or UAS (FAA terminology).

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This is just "ridiculous"...:

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2016/01/14/drone-legislation-would-require-owners-to-buy-insurance-get-uav-license-plates/

"Assemblyman Mike Gatto this week introduced the Drone Registration/Omnibus Negligence-prevention Enactment (DRONE) Act of 2016, which would hold owners responsible for registering and obtaining physical or electronic “license plates” for drones."

I guess this is the most spectacular example of the abuse I am talking about. Not only he is using the dredged word in almost every sentence - he actually made a "drone" acronym out of the (proposed) "drone" legislation...

Sigh...

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14 hours ago, Peter Majtan said:

This is just "ridiculous"...:

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2016/01/14/drone-legislation-would-require-owners-to-buy-insurance-get-uav-license-plates/

"Assemblyman Mike Gatto this week introduced the Drone Registration/Omnibus Negligence-prevention Enactment (DRONE) Act of 2016, which would hold owners responsible for registering and obtaining physical or electronic “license plates” for drones."

I guess this is the most spectacular example of the abuse I am talking about. Not only he is using the dredged word in almost every sentence - he actually made a "drone" acronym out of the (proposed) "drone" legislation...

Sigh...

California (sigh)...

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I definitely see where you are coming from, but for better or worse, the term drone has been linked to UAV use to the point where most people view them as the same thing.  I know it drives me nuts when people call magazines "clips" but it is what it is.

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2 hours ago, axel2078 said:

...but it is what it is.

It is what we make it. We need to take control over our industry from the media and firmly into our hands. I "educate" people about this whenever I get the chance and so far everyone I have explained this to gets it. In USA - despite the FAA specifying our systems as UAS / UAV - people still prefer to use the word "drone". It just shows what brain-washing power does the media have over there. We are taking pro-active role here in Japan and in EU and aside of my personal efforts and clear info on our company's website - we are now cooperating with some of the industry top giants on series of seminars mainly focused on this issue and other common misunderstandings about UAS / UAV's. We are even in talks with two major broadcasters on making a weekly show...

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5 hours ago, Peter Majtan said:

It is what we make it. We need to take control over our industry from the media and firmly into our hands. I "educate" people about this whenever I get the chance and so far everyone I have explained this to gets it. In USA - despite the FAA specifying our systems as UAS / UAV - people still prefer to use the word "drone". It just shows what brain-washing power does the media have over there. We are taking pro-active role here in Japan and in EU and aside of my personal efforts and clear info on our company's website - we are now cooperating with some of the industry top giants on series of seminars mainly focused on this issue and other common misunderstandings about UAS / UAV's. We are even in talks with two major broadcasters on making a weekly show...

Fair enough.  You're making a lot progress in this area, which is good!

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