The abbreviation UAS, or Unmanned Aerial System, stands for the whole combination of elements which need to be used together with unmanned aircrafts. This system consists an unmanned aircraft itself, some control system (regularly a ground station), control link, possibly datalink or any additional support equipment. As is well known, unmanned aircrafts or drones were originaly designed for an army and its purposes, hence the term UAS was also oficialy adopted by United States Department of Defense and the British Civil Aviation Authority. However, UAS are currently becoming more common part of civil area because of their promissing contribution in such areas like terrain survey, logistics, research, search and rescue, agriculture, building structure and pipeline checking and others.
When we ordinarily speak about UAS, UAV or drones, we often mean the same thing, although there are some slight differences. The well known word “drone” is older and it was originaly used for simple, remotely controlled aircrafts, which were not so sophisticated as their current offsprings. The abbreviation UAV stands for the very aircraft, the term UAS has been started to use for emphasizing the significance of other parts beyond the whole flight mission. Some aircrafts can be even controlled by an onboard computer, without the usual remote control. Although, remote radio control is still the most common way of piloting considering the UAS. For such piloting has an operator to use often a first person view via an onboard camera. The image is transmitted wirelessly to a video monitor or similar device. More professional and also expensive way is to use a gimbaled camera controlled by a gyroscope sensor and more of onboard cameras or multispectral cameras for a real stereoscopic view.
Because of the recent expansion of UAS out of the strictly military range, there is currently increasing number of specialized hardware and software suited for navigation, attitude control, engine power control or sensor integration. The UAS are becoming more common part of daily life, commercial area, public service, science research and others. They still mostly need a human assistance, but there actually exist a dozens of projects, intending to minimalize or even cancel this limitation. All around the world, there are university teams, private or state organizations, struggling to push the limits of the current technological level. This projects includes UAS which are able to communicate to each other and change informations, using “swarm intelligence”, flying robots searching, detecting and doing their tasks fully autonomously, including recharging of batteries and building home bases. Although many of these projects still belong to the area of imagination, the UAS have undoubtedly a great potential