Proper drone terminology UAV vs drone vs UAS

Drones vs. UAV and Other Names

So it seems one of the first problems you run into when you talk to someone about drones (or insert your favorite term for them here) is what do you call them? Drones is the term most people seem to know them by but others are pretty adamant about referring to them by another name.

We’re talking about any unmanned aircraft that carries any payload and any weight at takeoff

We’ll take a look at some of these names and come back around to why Float Avionics has settled on the term ‘drone.’

The most common technical sounding name behind ‘drone’ is UAV or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

The terminology is pretty easily explainable and a lot of people aslo use UAS or Unmanned Aerial System, though some people (the Department of Defense in particular) define UAS as Unmanned Aircraft System, but you get the point. None of these are inaccurate in what we refer to when we’re talking about drones, whether they’re autonomous (meaning they fly by themselves, autopilot basically) or entirely controlled by the pilot at all times, whether they’re military or civilian or commercially used.

The other thread of thought often refers to drones as a ____-rotor/copter

For example, quadrotor, octocopter, multirotor, that sort of thing. Similar to how we might describe various vehicles as duallys or 18 wheelers, it’s really based around a physical description. The number of rotors typically is connected with the ability to lift more weight but what the purpose of extra payload is (aerial filming, surveying, inspections etc.) isn’t really clear.

The argument against using the term ‘drones’ seems most commonly put forth by those who worry that people unfamiliar with civilian or commercial drones will mistake them for their military counterparts which are much larger but cause significantly more damage, albeit deliberately. We at Float Avionics don’t really see it that way. Of course people are familiar with military drones but it doesn’t seem that the first thing that pops into their head when they hear someone on the news mention the term ‘drone’ as a large military aircraft but rather a small phantom or other ‘multirotor’ drone.

So in the end, we’re sticking with ‘drone’

It’s the term that the most people are most familiar with and it generally encompasses all the various kind of drones/UAV/UAS/Multirotors that you could bump into and that we could use for any kind of job. It’s the general term, like saying ‘I’m headed to the car’ when what you’re heading toward is really a truck wit ha giant suspension life. Certainly not a ‘car,’ it’s just the term you use…and it’s here to stay.