What is Drone?
A drone, in a technological context, is an unmanned aircraft. Drones are more formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems . Essentially, a drone is a flying robot. The aircrafts may be remotely controlled or can fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in their embedded systems working in conjunction with onboard sensors and GPS.
Learn Working With Drones
How Do Drones Work And What Is Drone Technology
Unmanned aerial vehicle technology covers everything from the aerodynamics of the drone, materials in the manufacture of the physical UAV, to the circuit boards, chipset and software which are the brains of the drone.
One of the most popular drones on the market is the DJI Phantom 3. This drone was very popular with professional aerial cinematographers. While slightly old now, it uses plenty of advanced technology which is present in the very latest drones.
This UAV is ideal to explain drone technology because it has everything in one package. It includes the UAV, gimbal and camera and uses some of the top drone technology on the market today.
In only a few months since writing this article, some new and highly advanced drones such as the DJI Mavic Air, Phantom 4 Pro, Inspire 2 and Walkera Voyager 5 have come to the market. The fast pace of drone technological innovation is tremendous.
How Drones Work
A typical unmanned aircraft is made of light composite materials to reduce weight and increase maneuverability. This composite material strength allows military drones to cruise at extremely high altitudes.
Drones are equipped with different state of the art technology such as infra-red cameras (military UAV), GPS and laser (military UAV). Drones are controlled by remote control system also sometimes referred to as a ground cockpit.
An unmanned aerial vehicle system has two parts, the drone itself and the control system.
The nose of the unmanned aerial vehicle is where all the sensors and navigational systems are present. The rest of the body is full of drone technology systems since there is no need for space to accommodate humans. The engineering materials used to build the drone are highly complex composites which can absorb vibration which decreases the noise produced and also light weight.
The Future of Drone Technology
Drone designers and software developers are always unleashing new possibilities. It can be hard keeping up with all the new Drone tech entering the market constantly, So to give you an idea of where we are currently in the advancement of this technology, Here is a breakdown by generation.
- Generation 1: Basic Remote Control Aircraft of all forms.
- Generation 2: Static Design, Fixed Camera Mount, Video Recording / Still Photos, Manual Piloting Control.
- Generation 3: Static Design, 2 Axis Gimbals, HD Video, Basic Safety Models, Assisted Piloting.
- Generation 4: Transformative Designs, 3 Axis Gimbals, 1080P HD Vide or Higher Value Instrumentation, Improved Safety Modes, Autopilot Modes.
- Generation 5: Transformative Designs, 360° Gimbals, 4K Video or Higher Value Instrumentation, , Intelligent Piloting Modes. Most would agree.
Generation 6: Commercial Suitability, Safety & Regulatory Standards Based Design, Platform & Payload Adaptability, Automated Safety Modes, Intelligent Piloting Models and Full Autonomy, Airspace Aware. This is where we are with current Drone Technology, while some of the higher end professional grade Drones have started to cross into the next generation.
- Generation 7: Commercial Suitability, Fully Compliant Safety & Regulatory Standards Based Design, Platform & Payload Interchangeability, Automated Safety Modes, Enhanced Intelligent Piloting Models and Full Autonomy, Full Airspace Awareness, Auto Action (takeoff, land, mission execution)
What are Smart Drones?
The same kinds of magnetometers, gyros, accelerators, GPS modules and processors as those used in our smart phones are used in modern quadcopters. This technology will continue to improve and be part of the next generation of Drones known as “SMART DRONES”.
These “SMART DRONES” will have more efficient motors, better on board processors and software, more accurate sensors and built-in compliance technology for safe, effective flight control that will provide new opportunities in transport and logistics.