“It's all in the mind.” ― George Harrison

When the Fab four stepped off that plane in 1964 Americans weren’t sure what to think of that long hair and rebellious tone but that didn’t stop their popularity. The perception was so overwhelming it became the start of what was dubbed “The British Invasion”.

Perception is a strange animal.

Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) / Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle (UAV) systems are a powerful new tool for surveyors but they are guilty by association merely through the confused used name drone. DRONE is an acronym for Dynamic Remotely Operated Navigation Equipment. The military Predator, debuted in 2001, became the first weapon in history whose operators could use it to stalk and kill a single individual on the other side of the planet much the way a sniper does, and with total invulnerability. When the technology converted to a more consumer product the name carried over and so did the impression of invasive performance. These days, the word drone is used to refer to just about any kind of remote-controlled, unmanned aircraft. That could mean a consumer-grade quadcopter or a slightly more advanced octocopter. But it has a negative connotation. It hasn’t helped any that many of these quadcopters in the hands of amateurs have caused further negative impact on a technology that has proven a valuable tool for commercial use. Regardless of size, the responsibility to fly safely applies equally to manned and unmanned aircraft operations. What has happened is legislation and the FAA’s incremental approach failed to address the issues in a timely manner, so irresponsible public use has given the UAS/UAV technology a bad name. It is a similar layman's perception of a surveyor referring to his survey instrument as a gun.

Capitol Records hindered the Beatles' releases in the United States for more than a year by initially declining to issue their music, including their first three singles, because they just weren’t sure of the image. Imagine the momentum and talent we lost during that period. Need I remind you how it turned out? 213 Songs.*

My point is, if you want to advance this technology, stop referring to it as drones. Remove the negative perception by an uninformed public. It might help advance the technology to the positive tool it can be for land surveyors and other commercial applications.

Source: “The Beatles Complete Scores” By Hal Leonard Corporation, Copyright 1993.