To clarify what classifies a device as IoT on a specific example, are all flying drones (UAV) part of the Internet of Things? Or there is some minimum requirement to classify it as IoT? What's the stance of the relevant standardization organizations?

  • 4
    Should this be in Meta?
    – AstroDan
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 19:04
  • 1
    @AstroDan the same arguments are around for this question. I say keep it here so we can close others as duplicates (you can't close as dupe of a meta question)
    – Aurora0001
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 19:08
  • 1
    Either this is a meta question about the site or it is, TBH, a completely pointless question. There's no IOTETF, lol, so outside of the meta (about this site) question, no authoritative or meaningful answer.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 20:19
  • I didn't mean there isn't currently one here. I meant there is no authoritative answer because there is no authority to refer to. There are no laws defining this, or extra-governmental bodies with a serious mandate to do so. It's a clearly subjective and opinion based issue, because it doesn't really matter -- anything involving the law, manufacturing standards, etc. will be covered in other ways.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 20:24
  • 2
    Fair enough -- then a more reasonable question might be "Does the IoT-GSI include drones in its purview?". There's an objective answer to that. Beyond that, different people could simply cherry pick opinions from whatever organization they want to support their own opinion. I think you and Aurora0001 both wrote reasonable answers, if we are debating whether the site should allow drones as a topic. Otherwise, this is just discussion forum type stuff and SE isn't a discussion forum, let's please keep it that way.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 20:28

4 Answers 4


There isn't really any official definition of an IoT device that is accepted by everyone, but at least some manufacturers seem to be producing drones with the express intention of them being IoT devices. This article from Network World, entitled Drones are part of the Internet of Things, drone maker says states:

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones as we often call them, should be thought of as "unattended sensors," Anderson [3D Robotics' chief, Chris Anderson] says.

They are sensors connected to the Internet that pass data to the cloud. Ultimately, you can "almost forget about the device," he said.

"They are part of the Internet of Things," he said.

Internet of Things Agenda have a definition of the word drone which also seems to concur with the above:

From logistics to agriculture to security, unmanned aerial vehicles and IoT are frequently part of the same discussion; offering a component in ubiquitous connectivity and interactivity.

As I stated previously, the definition of IoT will vary from person-to-person, any drone connected to the Internet that allows autonomous control and sensor feedback could easily be considered an IoT device, and, based on Helmar's answer to what an IoT device is ("a global infrastructure for the information society, enabling advanced services by interconnecting (physical and virtual) things based on existing and evolving interoperable information and communication technologies."), I would be surprised if anyone disputed the argument that an Internet-connected, sensor-containing drone is an IoT device.

Of course, it makes little sense to call a simple drone (such as a remote control toy drone) an IoT device, because it lacks the sensor aspect (and the autonomy necessary for a true IoT device). Simply put, call something an IoT device where it's obvious that the device has some form of autonomy and interaction with its environment; not just any particular class of item.


The IoT-GSI (The Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things) doesn't mention any stance on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), however they defined the IoT as "the infrastructure of the information society." (ITU-T Y.2060). So any physical device embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivitywiki with their support of communication capabilitiesITU which allows to be sensed and/or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure (interactively or autonomously) is part of the Internet of Things.

Further more, according to ITU-T Y.2060 recommendation which clarifies the concept and scope of the IoT, the minimum requirement of the device in the IoT is their support of communication capabilitiesT-REC-Y.2060, especially the one with capabilities of data-carrying, data-capturing and sensing (e.g. detect and measure information of the surrounding enironment and convert it into digital signals) which flying drones obviously does that.

As Chris Anderson, drone maker (CEO of 3D Robotics) said at the recent InterDrone convention, that flying drones (as we often call them), should be thought of as "unattended sensors" (sensors connected to the Internet that pass data to the cloud). Especially when you're connected to the smartphone, you're also connected to the cloud, so these devices are designed to be connected "from the start". They role is basically as a sensors, therefore in his opinion they are part of the Internet of Things infrastructure.

Source: Drones are part of the Internet of Things, drone maker says. (Drones Keynote video at InterDrone).


Possibly they fall under the more general, top-level groups of the "Internet of Everything". This groups includes the Internet of things but is more broad and includes devices such as PCs, tablets, industrial computers and so on. A drone is bit more complex than the accepted definition of a thing in the IoT allows for. For IoT think fridges, water heaters, smart meters, etc. For IoE think robots, PCs and all the other more complex devices.

  • Can you add some references?
    – kenorb
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 20:31
  • Welcome to IoT Stack Exchange, Adam! We're glad to see you here. Like @kenorb said, a few references could go a long way toward making this answer more useful. I've been researching it a bit, and believe you are totally right about what you are saying, but it would be great if you had some authoritative references to share. Thanks!
    – anonymous2
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 3:14

The flying Drones can be considered as IoT. A very good examples is the Intel drones equipped with sensors that are being used in Cricket for pitch analysis.

Following is key snippet from the Intel Newsroom article:

In a first at the Champions Trophy, the Intel® Falcon™ 8 Drone, equipped with high-definition and infrared cameras will be used for advanced pitch analysis before every match. Images captured by the drone will offer rich visual data on pitch conditions such as grass cover, grass health and topology, which will be used to generate daily pitch reports leveraged by commentators during broadcasts.

The drones hover over the pitch and read critical parameters such as:

  • Grass Cover
  • grass health and topology
  • Even moisture

The sensed data is used by the commentators to predict if the pitch will favor batsmen, pace bowlers or spin bowlers.

Intel is trying to showcase how such drones can even scan a complete crop field making soil analysis and providing key data to farmers.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.