What is a drone

What is a Drone?

The term “drone” means any unpiloted aircraft. Compared to “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” (UAVs), it can carry out an impressive range of tasks. From military operations to package delivery, drones are useful for many purposes. It is a flying robot and can be controlled remotely or fly autonomously. It works with the help of conjunction with onboard sensors and GPS. Whereas a drone can be large like an aircraft, it can be as small as your palm too.

History of Drones

In 1915, Nikola Tesla gave an idea about unmanned aerial vehicles. In 1916, Abraham Karem took the first attempt at a self-propelled drone. 1915-1920 was a giant leap forward in drone technology. The first pilotless aircraft was invented in 1916. 1930-1945 was another significant leap forward in military drone technology. In the 1930s, the U.S. Navy started experimenting with radio-controlled aircraft. It resulted in the development of the Curtiss N2C-2 Drone in 1937.

The next big step in drone technology happened during the Vietnam War. This war saw the first widespread development and use of drones. Assault military drones were increased during 1980-1989. Mini and micro versions of drones were introduced in 1990. But 2010-today can be said the “Golden Age” of drones. The last ten years or more have seen a massive explosion in drone innovation and commercial interest.

How Does Drone Work?

Drones need a controller, something the pilot uses to launch, land, and navigate to take a flight. Controllers come off many types, for example- controllers to smartphones and tablets. Controllers need to communicate with the drone. To communicate with their aircraft, drone controllers use Wi-Fi. They have been designed as an array of onboard technology developed by the smartphone revolution. One of them is a GPS chip inside the aircraft that helps its location to the controller. It also saves the aircraft’s takeoff spot to return unassisted.

When a drone flies, the onboard sensors keep it flying. The altimeter lets the drone know what altitude it’s at. So, when you set the aircraft to fly in place, this chip will tell the drone to maintain that height. Moreover, the GPS chip helps to hold the drone within the x and z-axis, correcting the course when the wind blows around.

Landing a drone is even more challenging. Drones are programmed to land slowly automatically. When the drones drop in altitude too quickly, they end up sinking into the wash of their propellers. This air vacuum is hard to escape for seasoned pilots because they create an even stronger vacuum. It pulls down the drone faster than before.

These are the first advances to propel drones. There will be plenty more technology in the future. For example, the DJI Inspire 1 has a visual positioning system. It uses a downward-facing camera and two ultrasonic sensors to land. A vital feature of a drone is to fly indoors or somewhere without GPS. The camera creates a real-time map of the ground below, identifying a grid to land safely. If the drone moves away from the points, it can correct itself and stay locked in position. Meanwhile, the ultrasonic sensors inform the drone about the distance from the ground. In other words, technology can make landing a drone look easy.

Types Of Drones

The type of drone depends on how you look at it. In general, drones are classified into two groups. In one group, you have multirotor drones. These are drones that fly using two or more rotors. In another group, you have fixed-wing drones. They have two fixed wings. So, drones are divided into four categories-

  1. Multi-Rotor
  2. Fixed Wings
  3. Single Rotor
  4. Fixed-Wing Hybrid

Uses of Drones

  • Agriculture: The Environmental Protection Agency utilizes drone technology to manage livestock and survey crops.
  • Conservation: Drones are being used to monitor endangered species and map the changes in various ecosystems worldwide.
  • Delivery/fulfillment: Online orders can be delivered by drone.
  • Disaster mitigation and relief: Drones can go places that humans can’t go. So, they can be helpful for dangerous search and rescue efforts.
  • Logistics: Heavy-duty drones can carry and move goods in warehouses and factories.
  • Filmmaking and photography: Filmmakers are already using drones to capture aerial shots.
  • ISPs: Big tech companies experiment with solar-powered drone technology to beam the Internet to remote locals.
  • Law enforcement: Police forces are permitted to use drones for safety purposes.
  • Real Estate: Real Estate listings are dependent on drones to capture the building’s photos and videos.

Future of Drones

Drone technology is improving day by day, so future drone tech is currently undergoing a progressive improvement. According to the DroneDeploy reports, automation is the next step in the evolution of drone technology. Self-driving drones will be programmed to fly independently soon. They can even take off, land, and charge themselves autonomously, the report said. In 2020, drones will be seen on construction and oil and gas sites. Being enabled by advanced regulation, pilots will be able to launch a drone out of a dock to map the world with a click of a button. The future drones will have-

  • Complete commercial suitability
  • Fully compliant safety
  • Regulatory standards-based design
  • Platform and payload interchangeability
  • Automated safety modes
  • Enhanced intelligent piloting models and full autonomy
  • Full airspace awareness
  • Auto action (takeoff, land, and mission execution)

Drones are the best gifts of technology. Their usages at a large scale are inspiring almost all countries to develop their drones for different applications. Today’s drone combines all advanced technologies like microcontrollers, GPS, Wi-Fi, and sensor units. So, the present and future of drones are bright.

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