When it comes to the different flying objects that you can control remotely, terms such as drones, UAV, and UAS have been thrown around quite frequently. So, what makes a drone different from a UAV and a UAS?
If you were to technically define what a drone is, any vehicle can actually be a drone as long as it can travel autonomously without the help of humans. In that regard, vehicles that can travel in air, sea, and land can be considered drones as long as they don’t need human intervention to travel. So, the fact of the matter is that anything that is unmanned and has no pilot or driver inside can be considered a drone as long as it can still function autonomously or remotely.
A drone is a remote-controlled vehicle
Even if a plane, boat, or car is remotely controlled by a human being in a different location, it can still be considered a drone. The important part is that the vehicle doesn’t have human piloting or driving it inside. The word “drone”, however, is popularly used to describe those flying objects that we tend to control remotely either using from a different location.
A drone is a flying quadcopter
Because these drones are commercially sold, at the most, have cameras that can also be remotely controlled. Meanwhile, commercial drones cannot be controlled from a faraway distance as the bests can only be controlled from a handful of miles away. So, when we are talking about drones, usually referring to these small flying objects.
The acronym UAV stands for the unmanned aerial vehicle, which is very much similar to what a drone is in terms of what the definition means. So, basically, a UAV is anything that can fly aerially but is unmanned in the sense that it doesn’t have a pilot controlling it from the inside.
Moreover, the term UAV only refers to the aircraft itself as we are now excluding all of the other accessories that make up an entire drone system or any other equipment that can help the UAV work. This is an important part of what defines a UAV because this is where we draw the line between what a UAV is in comparison to what a UAS is.
When we are referring to a UAS, we are now actually talking about the whole system of the vehicle and its components and controller and its components. That’s because UAS stands for the unmanned aerial system, which is pretty easy to define and understand on its own.
So, when we are talking about UAS, we are actually talking about the system that is behind what makes a drone or a UAV work. This includes all of the different accessories and equipment that you need to allow a UAV to function such as GPS, camera, software, and the remote control itself. You can even include the person controlling the UAV remotely as a part of the entire UAS itself.
Differences Between Drone, UAV, and UAS
When we are referring to what a drone is, we are talking about a catch-all term that covers anything that can be controlled remotely or can move on its own autonomously without the help of a pilot or a driver. As mentioned, this can be any vehicle or object that can move on air, water, or land. So, from there, we can safely say that the term “drone” is the umbrella that covers all unmanned vehicles and objects.
Meanwhile, a UAV is the more narrowed down version of a drone in the sense that it only covers unmanned aerial vehicles and objects. So, in that regard, any UAV is a drone but not all drones are UAVs. And when we are talking about our commercial drones, they are also UAVs when we narrow down the catch-all drone definition.
And lastly, a UAS is far different from what drones and UAVs are because we are no longer talking about just the physical vehicle when we are talking about a UAS. Instead, we are now talking about the different accessories, equipment, and software that we use to actually control and allow the UAVs to fly autonomously or remotely.