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Drone Technology - Basics

Drone is a term that was formerly termed as UAV (Unmanned Aerial vehicle) or UASes (Unmanned Aircraft Systems). When we use the term unmanned aerial vehicles, technologies & concepts like manufacturing materials, chipsets & circuit boards, aerodynamics of the UAV along with the software and programs used to control it, everything gets covered under this one umbrella term. These aerial mini bots are controlled remotely using software, as aeroplanes are controlled using flight planned embedded system.

During the recent past days, UAVs were use mostly by militaries for information gathering purposes, surveillance, target practice etc. But over the last few years drones and its type quadcopters have become the main functional unit in the various realms of business for both private firms as well as in government sectors.

For quick delivery of goods and products, drones have proved to be the most amazing transportation medium, where the cost is really less and the performance is efficient and on time.

e.g. Amazon Prime Air :

Places where militaries cannot reach on time, drones are much more effective. It is also being talked about that there are new types of drones designed which can take almost 20 - 30 times more weight of the drone. The capacity of taking weight depends on some factors such as whether the drone is fitted with 1, 2, or 4 motors along with the surface area of the machine & the battery needs to supply more in order to keep the entire thing in the air.

With the advancement of technologies and increase in investment more professional and feature-rich drones are getting launched in the market.

Now-a-days, drones play the role of a civilian; monitoring traffic, monitoring and helping fire fighters to check different parts of a location, detecting and performing quick rescue operations using thermal sensor enabled drones, terrorist surveillance and spying, tracking of storms and hurricanes, film making & journalism as well as in delivery services.

There are four main types of drones -

  1. Multi rotor drones - These are the commonly found drones and is used equally by amateurs as well as professional hobbyists. These are available easily, cheaper than the rest and easily operable. They can have multiple rotors 3 (tricopter), 4 (quadcopter), 6 (hexacopter) or 8 (octocopter)

  2. Fixed wing drones - These drones look like small airplanes and can fly longer distances as compared to Multi rotor drones. Operating such drones require specific skill training and practice.

  3. Single Rotor Helicopters - These drones have just one rotor and look similar to helicopters. They are more efficient than the multi rotor drones but have larger rotor wings as compared to those used in multi rotor drones. They also need special skill training to operate.

  4. Hybrid VTOL - Hybrid VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) are drones which can hover, take off and land vertically. These are hybrid version of rotor based and fixed wing based drones.

History of Drones: It is interesting to note that the concept of UAVs exist since 1839 - it was unmanned balloons filled with explosives and there was no pilot physically present on the vehicle. It was the battle of Austrian with City of Venice, where the military used those balloons to drop explosives.

Then the first pilotless aircraft was used during World War I around the year 1918. Later, in the year 1935, a number of radio controlled aircrafts were designed for training purpose by the British.

The UAVs’ development kept improving since World War II with the introduction of new technologies.

Drones has extensive requirement and will keep on improving with the advent of technology, thereby making you feel more capable. However if you own one of them and planning to fly be sure to be aware of the aviation rules for flying them outdoor.

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