The military and aerospace (mil/aero) market is currently a hotbed of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) activity. UAV platforms, technologies, challenges, and even mishaps are making news headlines and drawing a great deal of attention of late. Whereas the UAV is likely the hottest topic in mil/aero today, a much smaller industry segment know well the UAV’s rich and interesting history.
The geek wants to remedy that in this blog, however. It is, after all, not only fascinating, but a bit surprising. For example, were you aware that many call famed scientist and visionary Nikola Tesla the “father of unmanned vehicle technology”?
The forward-thinking Tesla is perhaps best known as the father of alternating current (AC)—despite Thomas Edison’s best efforts to thwart him and to curtail the adoption and acceptance of AC through various means, including the use of scare tactics, in favor of and in the promotion of his own “baby,” direct current (DC).
Tesla is also credited with innovations in fluorescent lighting, AC motors, x-ray technology, wireless power transmission, hydroelectric power, and even what is today known as the directed-energy weapon. Regarding UAVs, however, it has been reported that one of his life’s goals was to produce a “flying machine” equipped with an electric motor powered by grounded base stations. His theorized invention, taking the shape of a cigar or a saucer, might also be powered electro-mechanically.
This geek has been fascinated with Tesla, but wasn’t aware of his influence on the modern-day wonder that is the unmanned aerial vehicle. How about you? Stay tuned for many, many more interesting UAV factoids.