Ever seen a flying robot dance gracefully across the sky? Well, there’s a good chance of seeing one or two around your neighborhood or at a huge sporting event — the point is, drones are huge right now! Today, the countless application of these quadcopters make it look like they’re one of the easiest things to fly or operate; well, that’s not too far from the truth, but you should know that these aerial acrobats pack a whole lot of tech into their seemingly lightweight frames.
For the most part, there are several different variations in the frame and construction of drones, but the essential components include a waterproof motor frame, motors, propellers, flight and motor controllers and of course, batteries. That said, most drones on the market are packed and ready-to-use — it’s all up to you to get yours and fly.
In this post, we’re going to explore just about everything you need to know about how drones work, the technology behind drones, right from start to finish.
Sounds good? Let’s dive in!
First Things First — What Sets Drones Apart From Remote Control Helicopters?
The biggest highlight of drones is their level of autonomy — their great flight capability is simply amazing. Unlike remote control helicopters, these robots can fly, bounce, hover or navigate without much input from a pilot. For the most part, drones have the ability to self-stabilize and maintain a GPS based position — this is the high level of autonomy that singles it out as a super smart machine. It’s good to point out that how far you can fly your drone depends on the space you’re flying it and the line of sight. Speaking of which, you can choose to fly a drone beyond the line of sight, but you should be aware that doing this increases the risk of crashing your aircraft or even hurting someone.
It’s good to know that drones with multiple rotors boast a plethora of exciting benefits that are sure to appeal to you and other UAV enthusiasts. Essentially, drones that feature more than one propeller typically come with more fail-safes. That said, your flying robot can still stay aloft even if one motor fails; the remaining motors will work in tandem to keep things on track or up in the air!
What’s more, drones that come with multiple rotors are sure to generate more lift, and that’s super handy when it comes to carrying a heavier payload such as a camera.
Drone Power Supply
As expected, drones don’t work on their own — these flying robots need a power source to get things spinning. Most drones come with a removable battery that gives you the chance to enjoy up to 12 minutes of flight time. Moreover, there are those that deliver up to 27 minutes of flight — a perfect example is the DJI Mavic Pro, one of the coolest drones out there.
Why do they have such little flight time?
Well, it’s pretty simple — more power means more weight. In other words, a drone that’s capable of flying for hours end will need to have a very powerful battery. But the thing is, this kind of “battery” will only tie your drone to the ground, and that’s not part of the plan.
How Do drones Fly?
First off, drones require a controller to take flight — it’s what a pilot uses to launch, navigate and land. These controllers can look like gamepads, smartphones or tablets; it’s up to you to choose what works. The most important thing is for the controllers to communicate with the drone and cause it to take flight. Speaking of communication, drones run by 2.4 gigahertz frequency range. And many controllers use Wi-Fi to communicate with the aircraft.
Smartphone Revolution and Drones
Today, drones adopt a range of onboard technology developed by the smartphone revolution and one of such is the GPS chip which relays the drone’s location to the controller. What’s more, the chip logs the aircraft’s takeoff spot; a function that’s sure to come in handy when the drone needs to return unassisted. These onboard sensors help UAVs to stay aloft for longer and also make the best decisions about its altitude, directions and other intelligent movements.
How do drones land?
It’s important to note that drones are programmed to automatically land slowly, and there’s a reason for it. When drones drop in altitude too quickly, they’ll eventually sink into the wash of their propellers. It’s highly unlikely to escape this strong vacuum of air — even seasoned pilots (those who operate real or remote-controlled helicopters) may not be able to control it. For the most part, your drone’s landing system is controlled by the built-in propeller system and the sensors are responsible for its speed, motor rotation, altitude and more.
All in all, drones are one of the most wonderful advancements of technology that comes with a wide range of applications right from the recreational to commercial and more. The good thing is, these flying robots are designed by some of the best companies in the world, so you can be sure of getting the best bang for your buck when you purchase one. It’s also good to know that many countries have specific rules concerning drone flights and there are also few restrictions on their weight carrying capacity. To sum it up, if you’re planning on using your drone as a hobbyist, be sure to have it registered and be educated on all of the federal, state and local restrictions on where and when you can or cannot fly your aircraft. Happy flying!