A List of Drone Terminology Everyone Should Know


Drones come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They have many uses, as they can be flown in the air or dive underwater. Drones are sometimes classified in a grade, according to their abilities. There is the toy grade, hobby grade, and professional grade. They can even be equipped with a camera to record or take pictures during flight. Here is a list of drone terms that everyone should know.

Let’s start with the most common term, UAV or UAS. UAV stands for unmanned aerial vehicle. UAS stands for unmanned aircraft system. These terms describe flying objects that have no pilot on board and controlled remotely. People in US and in the UK mostly use these terms.

Small UAV
Agencies, like the FAA, uses the term small UAV to classify UAV’s that weigh under 55 lbs. and not being used for non-recreational activity.

A transmitter is an alternate name for a controller.

This term means certificates of authorization. COA’s are needed to legally fly UAV’s within the United States. The certificate is issued and approved by the FAA.

This is a common type of UAV. A quadcopter has four individual horizontal rotors. This style of UAV became popular because of its stability and hovering ability. There are different variations to the quadcopter. Such as the hexacopters, which has six rotors and octocopters, which has eight rotors.

Autonomous Flight
Even though UAV’s are controlled remotely, they can operate via internal programming called autonomous flight. The program tells the drone where to fly and how high with predetermined locations, even to record with a camera.

Line of Site
This means that the person who is remotely controlling the drone must be in direct sight of it so that the radio signal can transmitted properly. Most smaller UAV’s are line of sight machines. Larger military type drones don’t use line of sight instead they get signals from satellites or nearby manned aircraft. Line of sight is also known as LOS.

The Roadmap
The roadmap is a document drafted by the FAA that lays out specific rules and regulations for drone operators.

This is a device that is mounted under the drone to add on another attachments. Most commonly used for cameras. The Gimble keeps the attached devices level and stable during flight.

Ultrasonic Sensor
This is a type of sensor that bounces sound waves off the surrounding environment to determine its location. The drones used the signals to orient itself during flight and to avoid collisions. Higher end drones use these sensors to fly indoors and do tricks.