Entering the Drone Zone

Entering the Drone Zone

The following contribution is from another author.

Remote control crafts have existed for a very long time. Going back to the 60’s, these products have been growing in popularity for decades. Early examples of these devices used liquid fuel to keep their scaled-down engines whirring, though most of the options you find on the market today are battery powered, and the very first remotes weren’t even wireless. A lot has changed over the last couple of decades, with RC products developing far beyond their original scope, but a lot of people have no idea what they have available when it comes to this field. To give you an idea as to just how broad this market is, this post will be exploring some of the World’s lesser-known examples of RC vehicles.


Starting off with the remote controlled vehicles everyone is accustomed with, it’s time to think about ground-based versions of these products. When most people think about an RC car, they will picture a sports car or SUV in their mind, as these are by far the most common examples found on the market, today. Some will replicate existing models, acting as a scaled down version of the original. Others, though, will take their own route, and will have a design which is unique to them. For those interested in cars, these products can often make great replacements for expensive ornaments, as they often look very realistic without demanding such a high price.

Along with the typical options which are available, you can also find loads of land-based RC vehicles which aren’t anything like a normal car. Tanks are one of the more popular examples of this, but you will also find options like diggers, fire trucks, and loads of other small versions of real-life machines to have fun with. A lot of the time, these products will be based on the same electronics, and this means that they share very common features. A tank might shoot small bullets, for example, while a fire truck will squirt water.

There are very few land-based remote control products which offer more than simple controls. As this market has developed, companies have moved their focus onto different types of remote control vehicles. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t find an RC car which offers cutting edge technology. In most cases, this will be dedicated to jobs like power delivery, with some examples being able to make their batteries last for far longer than they used to. Environmental protection against elements like dust and water also play a heavy role in this market, ensuring that products can survive the harsh conditions you expose them to.


Since the earliest days of humankind, people have gazed up at the clouds and stars, wondering what it would be like to soar with the birds. Of course, you can find personal flying machines on the market, but products like this are far too expensive for your average person to own. Instead, if you want to join the creatures in the air, you have to look a little smaller. RC planes have been around for a long time. In the early days, devices like this were reserved for enthusiasts, as they presented a similar level of complexity to real-life aircraft. Since the mid-2000’s, though, a huge range of alternatives have been hitting the shelves.

This all started with planes and helicopters. With product prices ranging from nearly nothing to a small fortune, options like these used to be the only way for a casual hobbyist to get involved with an interest like this. Early examples of products like this were notoriously hard to use, with helicopters offering little control, and planes requiring huge amounts of space for taking off and landing. This made the market hard for people to access, often resulting in RC flying machines being left to go unused. As the years have gone by, though, this has changed a lot, and the world of RC aircraft is booming today. Everyone wants to own a drone.

Operating in a similar way to RC choppers, drones will usually have four or more blades, offering a lot more stability in the air than their smaller counterparts. This makes them easier to fly, while also making them perfect for mounting cameras onto. Drones also come with some challenges, though. In December 2018, one of the UK’s largest airports was brought to a stand still by suspected drone sightings. Thousands of people had their travel plans altered by this, but the authorities could only wait for the small device to disappear.

This makes the field of airborne RC a challenging one. On the one hand, a huge amount of technology has come from this area, including some of the most sophisticated camera gimbal systems in the world. Companies like DJI have pioneered this sort of advancement, using the lessons they’ve learned from making drones hover perfectly still to achieve the same results with professional-grade cinema gear. On the other hand, though, they also have a lot of potential to cause pain and suffering, with drone usage in combat zones blurring the lines between ethical warfare and outright murder.

It’s easy to focus on drones when you’re looking at RC aircraft, though there is a side to this field which few people are aware of. Scientists around the world have long been using insects and microorganisms to copy the tricks which they use to fly. A bumble bee, for example, should be too heavy to fly like a normal bug would. Instead, they rely on alternating beats of their wings, effectively doubling the lift they can give themselves. In the hopes of harnessing this sort of method for large aircraft, remote controlled versions are always being built. Prototyping on a small scale like this is far cheaper than building plane after plane, only to start again.


Finally, as the last area where you will find devices like these, it’s time to look at water. When you think about a remote controlled vehicle, you would be right to have electricity come to mind. This sort of resource doesn’t work very well with water, though, leaving a lot of people to assume that finding something which they can control themselves is going to be very expensive. In reality, though, RC boats have been popular for decades. Fortunately, while batteries and water don’t mix, it’s easy enough to create a sealed compartment in something smooth like the hull of a boat. Early examples of products like this would often be homemade, coming from kits which you would have to painstakingly assemble by yourself.

In recent years, though, a lot of devices have hit the market which are meant to make this far easier. Often coming in a single package with a remote control, RC boats have come a long way over the years. Nowadays, rather than relying on a simple seal to keep water out, these devices have developed to rely on proper environmental treatments to keep the sensitive components safe. It doesn’t stop with boats, though, as you can also find plenty of RC submarines on the market, too. Websites like The RC Hobby Review can be a great resource when you want to learn about this sort of product, offering the chance to see what actual users think of the RC vehicles they have bought.

Like the other areas which make up the RC market, a lot of powerful technology has come from this sort of field. For example, waterproofing has come a long way thanks to the needs of enthusiasts who want to push their vehicles further and further. Along with this, though, cameras have also seen their fair share of improvements as a result of their importance in RC submarines. This has made underwater filming far easier, especially in places which are too dangerous or uncomfortable for humans to go.

All of the vehicles in this post have very practical applications, and have served people very well in times of extreme need. As rescue tools, these devices are just about the only way to give people help without risking others in the process, especially in mountainous and arid environments. Along with this, they also enable easier space travel, giving humans the chance to visit planets and other celestial bodies which would otherwise be impossible to research properly. As time goes on, and RC tools become more advanced, the limits are becoming truly boundless.

With all of this in mind, figuring out which of these RC devices is best for you should be a far easier job. Not only are these tools becoming very popular amongst normal people, but they are also having a big impact on other fields. Of course, though, this is only going to improve as people move into the future. If you’d like to get into this sort of hobby, it’s well worth giving a few of your options a try. A lot of people don’t realise quite how fun something like this can be until they’ve had the chance to give it a spin.


Eric is the creator of At Home in the Future and has been a passionate fan of the future since he was seven. He's a web developer by trade, and serves as the Director of Communication and Technology for a large church in Nashville, TN (where he and his family are building a high tech home in the woods).