An Animated History of the Drone | Mashable

The drone revolution is over 100 years in the making. Here, we take an animated look at the past, present and future of unmanned aerial technology.

Written and produced by Eric Larson

Animated by Alisa Stern

Illustrated by Bob Al-Greene

Narrated by Haile Owusu

Special thanks:

– Arthur Holland Michel, Co-Director of the Center for the Study of the Drone, Bard College:

– Richard Whittle, author, “Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution”:

– Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchiari, Reporter, Mashable

– Matt Silverman, Editorial Director, Mashable


-“Black Vortex,” Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech

-“Hall of the Mountain King,” Incompetech

-“Virtutes Instrumenti,” Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech

-“Colussus,” Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech

JOIN our circle on GOOGLE PLUS:


Mashable is the leading independent news site for all things tech, social media, and internet culture


  1. meep moop on March 7, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    Do more of these.They are great information on drones

  2. on March 7, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    بررسی تاریخچه کامل پهپاد از سال 1849 تا 2019

  3. Kr on March 7, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    how u do tthis animation ??? which software ??? tell me bro ??

  4. Miles universum 2008 on March 7, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    Aerial map were done early in the war by the germans, japaneese and soviets. It was not an exclusive-english or american idea.

  5. militiaUSA F on March 7, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    typical –leaves out huge gaps like Israel’s first drones were imported US made telydyne ryan firebees, Israel called them Shadmit drones, furthermore the US flew several thousand drone missions in Vietnam and converted countless planes to drone use during the cold war period

  6. Moin Mahmud on March 7, 2021 at 11:44 pm

    Very informative and unbiased.

  7. William Wolfcastle on March 7, 2021 at 11:44 pm

    The first drone I remember seeing was in The Green Hornet 1966 through 1967 with Bruce Lee as Kano Green Hornet ask Bruce Lee to release the Drone and a drone flies out the back of a car with video and audio surveillance

  8. JP Kelly on March 7, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    GREAT JOB on the history lesson – I am giving a community talk on drones, its history, the present day ”explosion’ of these litl’ rascals and where we are headed commercially and ‘hobbying’. Thanks again for an informative and well presented drone saga.

  9. Thermal ShayN on March 7, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    "by 2018"

  10. PyroToast3 on March 7, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    0:22 im pretty sure germany is supposed to not have austria, poland and czechia

  11. CdeF Blog steffens on March 7, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    V1? the first autronomos flying bonb.

  12. Saur on March 7, 2021 at 11:52 pm

    What about Russian drones? Like this one:

    Dates back to 1976

    And this:

  13. shane alexander on March 7, 2021 at 11:53 pm

    what about R2? He’s a drone, one of the O.G’s

  14. kez on March 7, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    how about german V-1? is this not a drone?

  15. Josh on March 7, 2021 at 11:54 pm


  16. faizullah firozi on March 7, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    You will lose this match

    Islam is once in the all
    World that is right rlgn

  17. DRONE HDTV on March 7, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    Please can I make a video pilot to show your video.

  18. Technicus Acity on March 7, 2021 at 11:55 pm

    Some ppl are converting mass hobby in military tools, but it found many troubles in dat way.
    Miltary usage of drones is very limited yet. Rather civilian. And it’s good =)
    In fact any other militrary tools, like piloted aviation, armore truck wechicle, battle ships, portable weapons and etc, killing and wounded much and mach more wictims than drone.
    *Kill not guns, kill assholes with guns*

  19. Rashid Abbas on March 7, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    0:48 – US killed so many innocent people in Pakistan through drone strikes. World was silent. Thank God this video didn’t call all of them terrorists.
    I know there were terrorists. But drone strikes always killed innocent people.

  20. Technicus Acity on March 7, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    Stupid "history" for idiots from clowns?
    RC drones about 50 year mass hobby for millions fliyng entusiasts around all world.
    Welcme to real world.

  21. elaxy on March 7, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    Please do more of these 🙂 they are great.

  22. Raw MEAT on March 7, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    I love this animation style vid and the info! I found a short article of this also

  23. DrZiggy87 on March 8, 2021 at 12:01 am

    Subtle fear mongering at its finest. 

  24. kanishka johnson on March 8, 2021 at 12:03 am

    Kindly provide your whatsapp no. or mail i need to contact regarding your content for i need some help.
    My Phone no.=7654423842

  25. cloudsplitter24 on March 8, 2021 at 12:04 am

    I agree with everything said.  What needs to be addressed is why model aircraft and their pilots, currently defined by congress to be self policed by the AMA (community organization), are now being persecuted by the FAA.  Existing privacy law already protects the individual from those who would misuse the tech.  Define spaces to keep models away from full scale aircraft, but don’t redefine what is a model airplane, and it’s pilot, those are already clearly delineated from the drones described here.

  26. Akash Yadav on March 8, 2021 at 12:04 am

    Sorry sir,
    You have got wrong information,
    The unmanned plane was frist invented by shivkar talpade.
    Please provide correct information to people

  27. David Villani on March 8, 2021 at 12:06 am

    drones are evil

  28. Aaron Johnson on March 8, 2021 at 12:06 am

    I thought I was going to see an early version of the Mavic or something, but really good video

  29. Flopsy on March 8, 2021 at 12:06 am

    An important point to note: "As with traditional strikes, civilians can get caught up in the crossfire…" Drones are not the only flying death machines.

  30. Izzy True on March 8, 2021 at 12:07 am

    Your f…..g US dromes have just ruined my families Christmas holidays. And many others. Greetings from the BRITAIN.

  31. Anuradha Dhananjaya on March 8, 2021 at 12:09 am

    According to cnn these drone kills are done by russians though they were created by us. And must tighten sanctions against them.

  32. Brian on March 8, 2021 at 12:10 am

    that last line gave me chills

  33. megan on March 8, 2021 at 12:11 am

    Thank you so much! This has really helped me with my school work!

  34. azem321 on March 8, 2021 at 12:14 am

    correction innocent civilians

  35. Alperen Aydın on March 8, 2021 at 12:14 am

    Can I use it for my homework?

  36. Hunter Wolfe on March 8, 2021 at 12:15 am

    I got mine stuck in a tree ;-;

  37. M Sibilkoloft on March 8, 2021 at 12:18 am

    So better to change the title to ”An Animated History of the Drone in Israel and USA”.
    Because if not, it’s an inquorate history.
    Have a look at the Drone development history in Iran-Iraq war in 80s.

  38. Technicus Acity on March 8, 2021 at 12:19 am

    *Vote for the involvement of the authors of such material to the liability of public insults and defamation in relation to the social category rc model aircraft  hobbyists and sportsmen’s. Aeromodelling is one of oldest and complexing sports and hobbies activities of million enthusiasts and professionals in all countries*

  39. Bud Stephens on March 8, 2021 at 12:24 am

    Well don’t do bad things to people

  40. Flawless Binary on March 8, 2021 at 12:26 am


  41. Chaosmancer7 on March 8, 2021 at 12:26 am

    I’m very disappointed in this video. 30 seconds given to discussing any aspect of drones that are not government surveillance or military kill strikes.

    Conservation, Agriculture, Entertainment (filming movies), Transportation of Goods, Providing infrastructure, exploration of hostile environments, search and rescue.

    All of that is covered in only 6% of this video, a 30 second blip in a tale of death, killing, and how dangerous technology can be.

  42. sennen04 on March 8, 2021 at 12:27 am

    this is not history of the drone this is just saying how many people were killed in their own countries for no reason. even if they are terrorists they are in yemen somalia and other places and are as you said "an entire ocean away" U.S drone strikes should not be happening in other counties. killing so many civilans makes the people that are carrying them out and people that surport them just as bad as the terrorist’s from 911. if the U.S wants to shoot some people with a drone do it on their own land. drones are also used (mostly) for non military purposes and this focuses only on military drones.

  43. Max on March 8, 2021 at 12:30 am

    6:16 The Bureau reported that only 957 civilian has been killed by this evil machine. They call this “collateral damage”. Now, people are not that fool to believe that this number is remotely accurate, they mean 957 x 20 killed, maybe then I will believe…

  44. isunktheship on March 8, 2021 at 12:32 am

    Pretty great video, most tech originates with the military before civilian application. Cargo planes will be unmanned in our lifetimes, as well as possibly global wireless internet.

  45. Syrkle on March 8, 2021 at 12:33 am

    8:28 – Illuminati confirmed

  46. YoSplashy on March 8, 2021 at 12:34 am

    There basically mini planes that can do a lot of stuff It also is controllered with a controller

  47. Darian M. on March 8, 2021 at 12:34 am

    Who else is here for CINF 301?

  48. Made in Russia on March 8, 2021 at 12:38 am

    Here in Russia we do love drones! And also we know how to produce them 😉

  49. Sanchit Singhal on March 8, 2021 at 12:39 am

    which software was this animation video made in??

  50. Tim Martin on March 8, 2021 at 12:40 am

    im only watching this for my security licensing renewal with ADT

Leave a Comment