A UAV by any other name is still a drone…

google_image_search_droneThe ongoing debate over what to call these technological wonders we fly in this industry has gone on for sometime and no doubt will not end soon.

Many refuse the moniker of “drone”, fearing it has a negative military connotation, however the media use it as their name of choice.  While those in the industry my prefer to use terms like UAV, UAS, multicopters, etc the reality is that society drives the accepted name and that name is “drone”.

The folks over Skymount Unmanned Systems have an excellent article on this topic: It’s Okay to Call Them Drones.  This is an excellent read and backed with some actual real world data.

Even if we all agreed it was a good idea to change from drone to another name and went to great expense launching a worldwide marketing blitz to advertise it, at best we could succeed only in changing the terminology within our industry while the rest of the world continues calling them drones. It is a futile exercise…

The fact that we can’t change it is fine though, because the name we have is a gift to us as a nascent, highly technical industry. A short, simple unique word that is widely recognized is a marketing department’s dream…

Let’s stop wasting energy on this debate so we can all get on with the real business of how best to take advantage of this amazing new technology and the benefits it can bring.

They’re called drones.
Move on!

We recently had an experience that drove this point home even more than we expected.  We were doing a video shoot at a local shopping mall, indoor using a Movi M5 handheld gimbal setup as a two many operation, with the camera man using an RC transmitter with remote video feed.  No UAVs on location, no other gear that would have implied any flying or drone related activities.

Throughout the day we had multiple people come up to us as ask if we were doing something with “drones”.  This ranged from young people to those well into their 60-70s.  It seems even the RC gear alone implies “drone” now to the general public.  One comment we overheard as a couple walked by made us laugh and rethink this even more:

they are doing something “drone-ish”

So at this stage the battle is really over.  Society has chosen the name and that name is “drone”.  Now the best we can do is embrace it and show the positive aspects of the technology and further distance it’s military history into the generic term for all things “drone-ish”

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