Commonly used abbreviations in the drone industry

In the drone survey industry, the commonly used name for these aerial devices is ‘drones’ but there are various other abbreviations used for both drones and services/accreditations in the industry.


UAV stands for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. This abbreviation is actually more commonly used in the industry as the term ‘drone’ is more readily associated with military technology. It also makes it easier to identify between the different types of inspection vehicle.


RPAS stands for Remotely Piloted Aircraft System. Used less than UAV as a term and is most often found in tender documents and specification material.


SUAS stands for Small Unmanned Aerial System. This term is used more for the smaller/lighter weight drone types such as our confined spaces drones.


NQE means National Qualified Entity. This is used by training providers and drone training facilities.


Permission for Commercial Operations. This is an accreditation provided by the CAA (which we will come to in a minute) that allows a drone inspection company like ourselves to operate commercially.


The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the body responsible for the regulation of aviation safety across the UK. This is the governing body not just for commercially operated drones but also those sold in local hobby stores (for example).


ANO means Air Navigation Order and is the published regulatory document that covers all levels of aviation from Airplanes to helicopters and drones.


A CAP Document is the Civil Aviation Publication regulatory document offering guidance to those using UK airspace.


Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle is the abbreviated term for ROUV though is commonly referred to as ROV. This is the name for our underwater drones that we use for the likes of ship hull inspection and off-shore wind turbines.


Visual Line of Site (VLOS) is a vitally important part of commercial drone operations. This is currently set at a distance no greater than 500m.


Beyond Visual Line of SITE (BVLOS) is a requirement for large scale drone flights that cover large areas such as agricultural drone surveys, topographical surveys and mapping.


An Operational Safety Case (OSC) document is used when we need to request exemptions to the CAA for drone inspection work that goes out with the current rules and regulations set out by the CAA. Requesting an OSC is no easy task. It can take months to get approval for OSC requests.


Vertical Take Off and Landing. All of our drones are VTOL specification using multi-rotor blade systems.