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On Aug. 22, 1849, after months of trial and error, Austria launched a pilot-less balloon bomb attack against Venice. 200 Balloons were launched with 33 pounds of explosives and half hour time fuses. The balloon did not cause much damage, and some even blew back to Austria, but it led the way for the use of drones. The man behind this idea was an Austrian artillery lieutenant named Franz Von Uchatius.
Franz Von Uchatius was born in 1811, and lived in Austria. Little is known about him, but what is know is that he was behind many inventions in the military and cinematography. Shortly after inventing the drone, he invented the first motion picture projector in 1853.
Over the next 150 years, drones were steadily used in more and more applications, generally in the military and specialized commercial industries. Around 2010, mass market consumer/commercial drones were launched with the advent of the Parrot AR Drone, made by the French company Parrot SA.
For more information about the history of drones, check out, Why Have Drones Suddenly Become Such a Big Thing and A History of Drones.