IATE Term of the Week: UAV (Drone)

June 15, 2018 9:30 am

This week marks the introduction of the first-ever set of EU rules concerning drones. On the 12th of June, the European Parliament brought in new aviation safety rules to provide clear and consistent laws for the use of drones in the European airspace.

A drone, also referred to as a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) or unmanned aircraft, is defined as an “aircraft that does not carry a human operator and is capable of flight under remote control or autonomous programming”. According to EP’s press release on the subject, while it was “originally developed for military use”, a UAV is now being applied “for a range of activities from photography and filming to rescue operations, pipeline inspections and crop spraying”.

The newly introduced rules would require the drones to be designed in such a way that they can be operated without putting people at risk. For instance, based on risk related to the weight of the drone or area of operation, the drone would need additional features, such as automated landing in case the operator loses contact with the drone or collision avoidance systems.

The fact that UAV’s have officially been recognised at such high administrative levels in the European Union would suggest that the rapidly – albeit unevenly – growing commercial drone industry has managed to break into the mainstream. Which should come as no surprise, given the fact that UAV’s of all shapes and sizes are being used not only to facilitate everyday activities such as package and food deliveries, but also to assist in solving more complex problems of de-icing wind turbines or restoring power supplies in hard-to-reach areas. Not to mention, a drone can offer you hands-free protection from rain, or even carry your baby for you. However, the latter is highly not recommended.

At any rate, now is a good a time as any to familiarise yourself with what UAV stands for – in case you don’t already have one yourself, which is highly probable.

Here is a screenshot of the IATE entry for UAV:


European Parliament. (2018) Drones: new rules for safer skies across Europe. Available at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/economy/20180601STO04820/drones-new-rules-for-safer-skies-across-europe/ [Accessed: 14 June 2018]

European Parliament. (2018) EU-wide rules for safety of drones approved by European Parliament. Available at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20180607IPR05239/eu-wide-rules-for-safety-of-drones-approved-by-european-parliament [Accessed: 14 June 2018]

Limer, E. (2018) The Dronebrellas Are Coming. Popular Mechanics. Available at: https://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/drones/a21051200/drone-umbrella-asahi/ [Accessed: 14 June 2018]

Meola, A. (2017) Drone market shows positive outlook with strong industry growth and trends. Business Insider. Available at: http://uk.businessinsider.com/drone-industry-analysis-market-trends-growth-forecasts-2017-7?r=US&IR=T [Accessed: 14 June 2018]

Mercer, C. (2018) How are drones used? Top companies using drones right now. TechWorld. Available at: https://www.techworld.com/picture-gallery/apps-wearables/best-uses-of-drones-3605145/ [Accessed: 14 June 2018]

Thompson, A. (2018) De-Icing Wind Turbines Is Easy With a Giant Drone. Popular Mechanics. Available at: https://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/drones/a19601013/de-icing-wind-turbines-is-easy-with-a-giant-drone/ [Accessed: 14 June 2018]

Thompson, A. (2018) Drones Are Helping Restore Power in Puerto Rico. Popular Mechanics. Available at: https://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/drones/a19094490/drones-power-puerto-rico/ [Accessed: 14 June 2018]

Weiner, S. (2017) A Drone Baby Carrier? What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Popular Mechanics. Available at: https://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/drones/a28322/drone-baby-simone-giertz/ [Accessed: 14 June 2018]


Written by Dimitri Efremov, a Communication Study Visitor at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg) and a student of the Master Programme in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg.

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