What is in a name? Drones, UAVs, UAS, RPA, RPAS, RPV
Drones are known by many different names by different people: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), or simply as drones.
Currently, UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is the most frequently used technical term for drones. This designation is used to define the flying object employed for recreational and professional applications.
However, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) uses the acronym RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System). The definition given for this is systems “based on cutting-edge developments in aerospace technologies, offering advancements which are opening new and enhanced civil-commercial applications as well as improvements to the safety and efficiency of the entire civil aviation”. The term RPAS appears to be the preferred terminology used by international aviation-related agencies like Eurocontrol, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
At the end of the day, the name you use does not matter so much, but the importance is rather in what we do with the systems.
RPA: Remotely Piloted Aircraft
RPAS: Remotely Piloted Aircraft System
RPV: Remotely Piloted Vehicle
UAS: Unmanned Aerial System
UAV: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle