It was in 2004 that drone systems began to see military uses for delivering ordinance in war zones.
However, the earliest recorded use of an unmanned aerial vehicle for warfighting occurred on August 22, 1849, when the Austrians attacked the Italian city of Venice with unmanned balloons loaded with explosives known as Austrian balloons.
Then they became popular consumer toys catering to the same sort of customer who in the past might have gotten pleasure in flying radio-controlled model aeroplanes.
But, in the past few years, drones have been taken seriously as commercial and professional tools, particularly for carrying cameras into hard to reach places much more affordably and safely than helicopters or small aeroplanes.
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From the recent high-rise Grenville fire in London where a drone was used during and after the horrific event to search for victims, to the trans-channel flight of a large drone car carrying a pilot, to routine uses in movies, drone technology is also rapidly becoming a mainstream professional tool.
Most of the dominant brands of drones in use among professionals are not surprisingly made in China and sell for prices not too far above those of similar consumer models, averaging in the low thousands of US dollars or Euros.
There are, however, many brands, often made in America or Europe, that are larger, more rugged and often far pricier than the Chinese brands, but these are often dedicated to heavier lifting, longer range operation or niche applications. Continue reading about saturation in the drone market.