As you enjoy your Dronium 3X or Kaptur GPS, you’re probably wondering, “How were drones invented in the first place?” Drones, as we know them, are unmanned, aerial vehicles with four rotors (quadcopters). Let’s take a look at their history and development.
Unmanned aerial winged vehicles were first developed and used in World War I. Early versions of cruise missiles were initially controlled by gyroscopes and then eventually by radio control in the 1930s. Around this time, in the 30s, the British began using unmanned aircraft as targets for training purposes and started referring to them as “drones”. During the Cold War and the Vietnam War, drones were developed and used for reconnaissance missions.
Meanwhile, vertical flight has been on human minds since ancient times. Bamboo flying toys, which were sticks attached to rotors, were popular in China and Japan. In the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci designed and sketched a machine for vertical flight. As the Wright brothers were making first flights and history with their fixed wing aircrafts, other inventors, like the Breguet brothers created the Gyroplane No.1, considered by many to be the first known example of a quadcopter.
As the 20th century wore on, developments in both helicopters and quadcopters progressed. Due to the popularity of the Sikorsky R-4 and the Bell 47 helicopters, quadcopters were not generally created for mass production.
However, over the past few decades, the need for better maneuverability and hovering in smaller aircraft and demand by the general public has led to a rise in quadcopter-style UAVs. Insurance companies fly them over roofs to survey for damage claims, filmmakers and journalists use them to shoot footage, and companies are even developing drones for package delivery! As the years have progressed and technology has improved, hobby level and toy drones now have altitude sensors for automatic hovering, live streaming, HD cameras, and even GPS.
Technically, your drone has been in development for thousands of years and now that you know its history, you can appreciate it so much more!
* Gyroplane No.1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breguet-Richet_Gyroplane