Also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle, a drone can be referred to as an aircraft that flies without a pilot. Drones rely on a communication system to follow the commands of a ground-based controller. In most cases, drones depend on two degrees of autonomy. They may be operated by onboard computers or by remote control. When operated through remote control, a human is behind its activities. Drones were designed by the military to replace the dangerous, dirty and dull missions that used to be conducted by manned aircraft. Rotor View is one of the companies in the US that specializes in drones.
Use of drones today
Unlike in the past when drones used to be used for military and reconnaissance missions only, their use has spread to other industries such as scientific and commercial. Drones are also used in agriculture and even for recreational purposes. For instance, drone racing is becoming a common phenomenon in the United States. Other application for drones could include smuggling, aerial photography as well as product deliveries. Drones are also being used for peacekeeping and policing in some parts of the world. Currently, statistics show that civilian drones outnumber military drones. In the year 2015 alone, approximately one million civilian drones were sold. At the moment, technological experts say that drones are finding their application in home robots, autonomous cars and autonomous things.
Origin of the term drone
While there are many names that can be used to describe unmanned aerial vehicles, the one that has stuck most is drone. However, this term owes its origin to the federal aviation administration as well as the United States department of defense back in 2005. This term was later adopted by the other aviation institutions such as the British Civil Aviation, the International Civil Aviation Organization as well as the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management.
Classification of drones
At the moment, drones can be classified into six broad categories. These categories include target and decoy, reconnaissance, combat and logistics. The other two categories are research and development drones as well as civil and commercial drones. Target and decoy drones are used for aerial and ground gunnery. They can even fire high precision missiles if they are armed. Reconnaissance drones play a crucial role of offering the military battlefield intelligence. Combat drones, on the other hand, are used for high-risk missions and often for an attack. Logistics drones are used for delivering goods. Currently, Amazon is using logistic drones. Research drones on their part are used to improve aviation technologies. Finally, commercial drones may be used for data collection, aerial photography and even agriculture.
Design of drones
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A fully functional drone should have one of the following components. It should have a body, a platform and a power supply system. It should also have a computing area, sensors and actuators. Sensors are crucial in providing information about the aircraft. Some of the information that can be relayed through these sensors include distance from the ground and weather of the area. Actuators consist of digital speed controllers that are connected to servo motors, propellers and the engine.