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Interpreting Development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles using Systems Thinking


  • Jelena Cosic

    (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture - University of Zagreb)

  • Petar Curkovic

    (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture - University of Zagreb)

  • Josip Kasac

    (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture - University of Zagreb)

  • Josip Stepanic

    () (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture - University of Zagreb)


Rapid present development of unmanned aerial vehicles is rather unstructured. Starting from general systems theory we formulate classification of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that properly groups diverse produced unmanned aerial vehicles, along with their currently unproduced, yet possible types. First we structure the context of applications of UAVs using systems thinking. Secondly, we divide UAVs according to their function in environment: transfer of mass, energy and information. Thirdly, we further divide UAVs following with exchanges between them and environment which do not perform UAVs main predicted function. Fourthly, we analyse possible types of UAVs and divide them based on the structure of their lift-creating element, on their regulating programmes, and on the type of their power-plant. We deduce guidelines for researchers and practitioners regarding prospective focuses in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Suggested Citation

  • Jelena Cosic & Petar Curkovic & Josip Kasac & Josip Stepanic, 2013. "Interpreting Development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles using Systems Thinking," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage:, vol. 11(1), pages 143-152.
  • Handle: RePEc:zna:indecs:v:11:y:2013:i:1:p:143-152

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    unmanned aerial vehicles; UAV; transfer of mass; transfer of energy; transfer of information; system; classification;

    JEL classification:

    • L84 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Personal, Professional, and Business Services
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise


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