What are drones? Unless you’ve been living under a frightfully large rock for the past who-knows-how-long, you’ve probably heard of the flying robots, also known as quadcopters. The Federal Aviation Administration refers to them as “unmanned aerial systems,” while they’re more frequently called “unmanned aerial vehicles.”
Defined as “an aircraft without a human pilot” that is flown via remote control by the operator or autonomously by on-board computers, drones were originally used for military purposes. However, they now provide a wide range of commercial and personal uses.
Originally utilized for military personnel target practice in the mid 1900s, work with drones expanded during the first World War. The U.S. Air Force began using quadcopters in 1959 following concern for pilots flying over hostile territory. By 1973 the U.S. military officially confirmed drone use in Vietnam, and as of 2012 the Air Force had utilized 7,494 UAVs. In 2013 it was reported that drones were being used in at least 50 countries, including Iran and China in addition to the U.S.
How They Work
Drones are typically made with lightweight composite materials so they may fly through the air easily and at higher altitudes. And while they come in a range of sizes, drones generally feature seven essential components. These include the propellers, remote control, motors, sensors, main controller, receiver, and electronic speed controllers.
The main controller is the quadcopter’s “brain,” with the sensors working to track it while in flight. Motors are designed with electronic speed controllers, which regulates the amount of power going to the motor. The receiver is used in conjunction with the radio control system, while the propellers unsurprisingly are a huge component in keeping the quadcopter in the air.
Today’s drones are equipped with GPS systems, first person view, cameras, and gimbals for holding the cameras among other features. Many of the most popular drones on the market, such as the DJI Phantom 3, come with their own apps.
For more on drones and drone accessories, please contact DroneFly today.