What’s the difference between a Drone, UAV, and UAS?
Everyone has heard the term “drone.” It’s becoming an increasingly popular way to refer to the small (usually) helicopter-like devices that are being flown by millions of people around the globe. However, there’s a host of other terms used to describe them, which can make things a bit confusing. It does seem a bit strange to have the word “drone” used to not only cover a $30 hobby aircraft that a child can fly, but to also describe a high-tech $10 million weapon used on a battlefield. Those devices don't exactly serve the same purpose. So why don't they have different names? Okay, so for starters, basically every UAV is a drone...but not every drone is a UAV. Still confused? Completely understandable! Before we dig in further, it’s worth noting that with drones becoming increasingly popular, it’s likely some of these definitions will change in the future when the FAA eventually settles on more specific terms. This isn't a bad thing, as drone is so all-encompassing at the moment that it's hard for people in various industries to agree on anything. But for now, here’s a brief explanation of the different phrases you’ve likely heard to help you understand what each one means and what the difference (if any) there is between them: