Historical Timeline of Drones

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HistoricalTimeline of Drones

HistoricalTimeline of Drones

Thehistory of drones is almost as ancient as that of aircrafts.Basically, a drone is an aircraft without a human operator on board,and it functions on a range of degrees of autonomy. It can beoperated autonomously by onboard computers or by use of a remotecontrol by a human operator. Originally, drones were used formilitary applications as they were preferred for missions that weredangerous for human involvement. However, today drone have found usein recreational, scientific, commercial and agricultural applications(Gonzalez-Aguilera &amp Rodriguez-Gonzalvez, 2017).


Theidea of drones originated from balloons like the 1849 Australian bombfilled balloon that was used to attack Venice. Innovations started inthe early 1900s and were purposely meant to provide target practicefor training the military. Development of drones continued into WorldWar 1 and the earliest powered drone was A.M low’s “AerialTarget” in the year 1916. More advances continued after world warI. in 1935, Reginald Denny created the first remote piloted vehicle(Woit, 2014).

Belowis a prototype of Denny Reginald’s piloted vehicle.

Untilthe Vietnam War, there were more than just a few drones. However, in1959, the United States military began to craft ways of getting intothe enemy territory using drones since it was losing most of itspilots to hostile enemies (Restas, 2015). In 1960, a highlyclassified program coded “Red Wagon” was initiated so as to builddrones. The first U.S highly classified drones were initiated in 1964during the clash between the U.S Navy and the North Vietnamese navyat the Tonkin Gulf during the Vietnam War.

Duringthe 1967-1970 War of Attrition in the Middle East, drones withcameras were introduced into combat, and after the 1973 Yom Kippurwar, Israel developed the first drones with real-time surveillance.This helped Israel in the 1982 Lebanon War as they used thesurveillance to neutralize the Syrian air defenses and did not loseeven one pilot.

Prototypeof Israel’s drone with real time surveillance

Theinterest in drones grew within the U.S military in the 1980s and1990s after due to the maturity and miniaturization of applicabletechnologies (Takahashi, 2015). The United States contractedcompanies with the technology to build advanced drones in the 1990sthat were used in the Gulf war. This drones showed the ability tohave cheaper, capable fighting machines that could be deployedwithout putting aircrews at risk.

EmergingTrends in Drone Technology

Inrecent years, the drone technology has led to the development ofmachines that can fly themselves and thus opening them to manyapplications. With reliable collision avoidance and autonomy, dronescan take up tasks that are too remote or too dangerous for humans(Campana, 2017). For instance, drones can be utilized in agricultureto collect data from air thus allowing the efficient use of suppliessuch as fertilizer.

Finally,for drones to be adopted widely, they have to be immensely reliableeven in difficult conditions. However, the fact that these drones canmaneuver through a three-dimensional world, it makes them the mosttransformational technology in the coming future. They will immenselyexpand the human experience, presence, and productivity.


Campana,S. (2017). Drones in Archaeology. State-of-the-art and FuturePerspectives.&nbspArchaeologicalProspection.http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/arp.1569

Gonzalez-Aguilera,D. &amp Rodriguez-Gonzalvez, P. (2017). Drones—an Open AccessJournal.&nbspDrones,&nbsp1(1),1. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/drones1010001

Restas,A. (2015). Drone Applications for Supporting DisasterManagement.&nbspWorldJournal Of Engineering And Technology,&nbsp03(03),316-321. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/wjet.2015.33c047

Takahashi,T. (2015).Drones and Privacy.&nbspSSRNElectronic Journal.http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2035575

Woit,B. (2014).Drone Defense: The Inherent Right of Self-Defense and U.S.Drone Strikes in Pakistan.&nbspSSRNElectronic Journal.http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1986509