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Building Your Own Drones: A Beginner’s Guide to Drones, UAVs, and ROVs by John Baichtal

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1. A History of Drones

Imagine a car without a driver or a plane without a pilot, with a computer replacing the person who operates the vehicle. You’re imagining a drone.

Drones are everywhere in the news, especially with battlefield stories about unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) shooting missiles at targets half a world away from the person pressing the button. However, not all drones are used in war. Some drones are peaceful drones.

Budget cuts at NASA have thrust these remotely operated probes into the spotlight—first and foremost the Mars rovers (see Figure 1.1). These remotely controlled rollers have performed vastly beyond the expectations of NASA’s engineers.

FIGURE 1.1 An artist’s concept drawing of a Mars Rover (credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell ...

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