James Bridle was artist in residence for the Visible Futures lab at the School of Visual Arts, and is interested in all things drone. He looked into the most widely seen image for drone (#1 result on Google searches) and determined that its a photoshop job:
from One Visible Future
The Canon Drone does not exist, it never has. It is computer generated rendering of a drone, a fiction. It flies over an abstracted landscape - although perhaps the same one as another canonical image, thisPredator in flight, which, while unmarked, at least appears worn enough to be believable.
Where does the image originate? As the default drone photo, it is endlessly reproduced without attribution. It appears in Google Image searches for 2009, but not for 2008 - although I’m unsure how reliable this dating is. I’ve hit a wall in finding out more.
I think: the Canon Drone is emblematic of the liminal, self-obfuscating essence of the UAV, and all of our noumenal infrastructures. The most widely reproduced image of this most illegible of our contemporary technologies is itself a dream.