Nikola Tesla's 1898 Drone That Could've Stopped All Wars

Though they've just recently become available to consumers, drones are not a new innovation. In fact, inventor and futurist Nikola Tesla invented one in his lifetime.

Look, Ma. No Wires!

Tesla patented his drone near the turn of the century and believed the potential for these "killer robots" was immense and meaningful. He believed his device had such potential for death and destruction that it would stop all wars through mutually assured annihilation. His patent for "Method of and apparatus for controlling mechanism of moving vessels or vehicles" was granted November 8, 1898.

Tesla was ahead of the curve on his invention for another reason too: it's wireless. This is directly from Tesla's 1898 patent: "In a broad sense, then, my invention differs from all of those systems which provide for the control of the mechanism carried by a moving object and governing its motion in that I require no intermediate wires, cables, or other form of electrical or mechanical connection with the object save the natural modia in space. I accomplish, nevertheless, similar results and in a much more practicable manner by producing waves, impulses, or radiations which are received through the earth, water, or atmosphere by suitable apparatus' on the moving body and cause the desired actions so long as the body remains within the active region or effective range of such on currents, waves, impulses, or radiations."

Want to learn more about Tesla? Check out "Tesla: The Life and Times of an Electric Messiah " by Nigel Cawthorne. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

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Written by Curiosity Staff September 1, 2016

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