I have a… drone? – 1/2

person Posted By: AIRK Drones list In: Others On: favorite Hit: 1789

The media refer to them in many different ways: drone, UAV, RPAS, drones… sometimes, several names are even used in the same article to refer to the same object, when in fact they are not strict synonyms. With this article we hope to shed some light, to help to call a spade a spade, and to make a call to some entity, international if possible, to definitely regulate each device’s official designation.

THE 7 DENOMINATIONS YOU SHOULD KNOW

 

The media refer to them in many different ways: drone, UAV, RPAS, drones… sometimes, several names are even used in the same article to refer to the same object, when in fact they are not strict synonyms. With this article we hope to shed some light, to help to call a spade a spade, and to make a call to some entity, international if possible, to definitely regulate each device’s official designation.


UAV
. Stands from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. It refers to any device that is able to fly without a crew, which includes any radio control toy.


UAS
. Stands from Unmanned Aerial System. Using the word “system”, we are no longer talking about a simple vehicle, but about a set of components as a whole. For instance, if we add an autopilot to an UAV, commonly known as a flight controller, it becomes an UAS.


Drone
. Literally, a stingless male bee. It is a partial synonym of UAS, because not every UAS is a drone, but every drone is an UAS. An UAS becomes a drone when its set of components help to do something more than just flying. If we add a camera, and use it to record, monitor, etc. we would be talking about a drone; therefore, a drone is an unmanned aerial system aimed to a task or application.

 

UCAV. Stands from Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle. It refers to devices of military use, capable of carrying weapons in order to attack targets. As these devices have a specific application that goes beyond just flying, they can also be called “combat drones”.

 

RPA. Stands from Remotely Piloted Aircraft. This new designation emerged in the USA as a result of the concerns of some people, who thought the UAVs were flying by themselves, with no one controlling the flight or able to react in case of failure. With this new acronym, it became clear that someone was making responsible of the aircraft.

 

RPAS. Stands from Remotely Piloted Aircraft System. It refers both to the device and to the control system as a whole. This term has become popular in official reports, especially in those made by the European Union, who calls all the devices for civilian use RPAS.

 

Multicopter or Multirotor. It’s an aircraft with multiple rotors, able to perform a vertical take-off, and using the change of speed of the rotors to control the navigation direction. In this family there are several devices, mainly QuadcopterHexacopterOctocopter and Coaxial Quadcopter.

 

In conclusion, we can say that UAV and RPA refer to everything that can fly remotely piloted, including all the radio control toys, and that UAS and RPAS are more complex, generally safer systems, as they include more elements that just the aircraft; drones, finally, would be systems that perform remote-controlled actions.

 

We can also say that all drones are RPA and UAV, but not all UAV and RPA are drones. And last but not least, we can say that not all the multicopters are drones.

 

With this background, from Airk we consider it would be necessary to organize this nomenclature and to establish official designations, in order to avoid confusions and to strengthen an industry that, according to current forecasts, will have an impact of over 8 billion euros worldwide in the years to come.

 

If you want to go one step beyond and to know the differences between a drone, a robot and an android, read here the second part of this article

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