Legendary inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla, famous for designing the alternating current electric supply system, was known for having his share of controversial predictions about the future in the early 1900s.
He predicted a wide array of items using electricity that would become smartphones and robots. But a patent has surfaced online showing he foresaw drones, as well, powered by a well-known power source.
Excerpts of the patent granted to Tesla on Nov. 8, 1898 were posted online last week by technologist Matthew Schroyer.
The document, titled “Method of Apparatus for Controlling Mechanism of Moving Vessels or Vehicles,” described how this invention would not require electrical conductors or wires to move. The drone would rather move by “producing waves, impulses, or radiations, which are received through the earth, water, or atmosphere,” per the patent. These waves would be transmitted to the autonomous vessel as long it stayed within range of the signal.
This system Tesla writes about are radio waves, reported Gizmodo. Radio waves were discovered in the 19th century and played an important part in helping the development of unmanned aerial vehicles.
You can read a PDF of the patent here.