UAS are aerial vehicles and associated equipment that do not transport a human operator, but are piloted remotely or flown autonomously. UAS are commonly known as unmanned aerial systems (UAS), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), and drones. A UAV is an unmanned aerial vehicle. They can fly remotely, for example, with a remote control or tablet, or independently.
So is the UAV a drone? Basically, it is. The two terms are often used interchangeably. UAS stands for Unmanned Aircraft (or Aerial) System. The term UAS covers not only the UAV, but also the person or equipment on the ground that controls the flight, as well as the system that connects them (GPS, ground control, transmission systems, cameras, software, etc.).
While a UAV represents the specific vehicle, a UAS encompasses everything needed for the UAV to operate smoothly. A UAS is complex and incorporates many moving parts that make it possible for UAVs to advance and operate. By definition, every UAV is a drone because it stands for unmanned aerial vehicle. However, not all drones are unmanned aerial vehicles because a UAV works in the air, while “drone” is a general definition.
Meanwhile, a UAS is what makes a UAV work, since the UAV is really just one component of the entire UAS. A UAS or unmanned aircraft systems includes not only the UAV or the drone, but also the person on the ground who controls the flight and the installed system that connects both. Meanwhile, a UAV is the smallest version of a drone in the sense that it only covers vehicles and unmanned aerial objects. Although the term Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is used interchangeably with “drone”, a UAS is a “three-part system”, in which “drone” refers to the aircraft itself.
The acronym UAV stands for unmanned aerial vehicle, which is very similar to what a drone is in terms of what the definition means. This is because UAS stands for unmanned aerial system, which is fairly easy to define and understand on its own. Basically, a UAV is anything that can fly from the air but is unmanned in the sense that it doesn't have a pilot to control it from the inside.