Have you ever seen an aircraft without a pilot on board? Don’t say that I’m kidding. You might have definitely observed tiny flying objects clicking pictures of the guests in a wedding ,or on the television while watching a cricket match where they capture important events. They are called Drones. But what’s exactly this technology? Let’s understand.
What is a Drone?
In technical terms a drone is an unmanned aircraft. Drones are formally also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). It is essentially a flying robot that may be controlled by a remote or fly autonomously using software-controlled flight plans in its embedded systems,working with the help of onboard sensors and GPS.
Different drones may travel at different heights and distances
Close-range drones can often fly up to three miles and are primarily utilised by amateurs.
Short-range drones,which can go up to 90 miles,are mostly employed for surveillance and intelligence gathering.
Mid-range drones have a 400-mile range and might be utilised for scientific investigations, and meteorological research.
The longest-range drones are known as “endurance” UAVs, and they may travel over 400 miles and up to 3,000 feet in the air.
Drones are ideal candidates for some of the world’s most difficult tasks since they can be controlled remotely and operated over different distances and heights. They may be found assisting in the rescue for survivors after a hurricane,ensuring law enforcement, providing the military with a bird’s-eye view during terrorist activities, and promoting scientific research in some of the most severe climatic conditions.
History of Drones
Drones have been around for more than two decades, but their origin can be traced back to World War I, when the United States and France worked on the development of automated,unmanned warplanes. However, the last few years have been important in terms of drone adoption,development of drones,usage expansion and worldwide awareness.
Drones were once only employed by the military, but they are now being used by individuals, SMEs, and large companies to perform a variety of tasks. Drone technology has advanced and thrived in recent years. People have realised that drones may be used for a variety of purposes.
Types of Drones
Single Rotor Drones
These resemble tiny helicopters that can be either gas or electric powered. The single blade and ability to operate on gas helps in the stability of the drone and allows it to fly over greater distances. These UAVs are often used to transport heavier items,such as LIDAR( Light Detection and Ranging) equipment, which may be used to examine landscapes, analyze storms, and track erosion caused by global warming.
These drones are often among the smallest and lightest in the market.They have limited range, speed, and height,but they are ideal for drone-enthusiasts and aerial photographers. These drones can typically fly for 20–30 minutes carrying a lightweight load, such as a camera.
These drones resemble normal airplanes.The wings provide lift to the drone rather than rotors,making them extremely efficient. These drones often run on fuel rather than electricity, enabling them to remain in the air for more than 16 hours. Because these drones are often much larger, and owing to their design,they must take off and land on runways, just like airplanes do.
How Drones Work?
While drones may be used for a variety of purposes, including entertainment, photography, commercial, and military use, its two primary functions are flying and navigation.
Drones fly with the help of a power source, such as a battery or fuel, rotors, propellers, and a frame.To minimise weight and enhance agility during flight, the frame of a drone is generally built of lightweight, composite materials.
Drones require a controller such as a remote,which is used by the operator to launch, navigate, and land it. Radio waves and Wi-Fi are used by controllers to communicate with the drone.
Applications of Drones
Drones have become an integral element of armed forces across the world,serving as target traps, for combat operations,research and development, and for monitoring. Military use of drones has gained even more significance today, than it had previously.
The MQ-9 Reaper is the most prominent military drone in existence today.The drone is 36 feet long, can fly 50,000 feet in air without being detected, and is equipped with a variety of weapons and intelligence gathering devices.
Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles will continue to be used in a variety of military operations due to its ease of use, minimizing losses and facilitating the execution of high-profile and time-sensitive missions.
Drones are increasingly being used to capture footage that would usually involve the assistance of expensive helicopters and other equipment. Aerial drones are used to film fast-paced action and sci-fi scenes, which is making cinematography easier. These self-driving aircraft are also employed in real estate and sports photography. Journalists are also considering using drones to gather footage and information during real-time broadcasting.
Delivery drones are often autonomous UAVs that deliver food, gifts, or other daily-use products to your doorstep. They are used to make deliveries from nearby stores These drones can deliver an astonishing 55 pounds(24 kilogram) of products to your front door without having you leave your house. Drone-enabled delivery is supported by major corporations such as Amazon, UPS, and DHL. Drones have the potential to save a lot of labour by diverting unnecessary road traffic to the sky.
Drones enable a rapid way to gather information and manage debris and wreckage after a natural or man-made disaster to search for injured people. Its high-definition cameras, sensors, and radars provide rescue teams with a wider field of vision, eliminating the need for manned helicopters.
Apart from locating victims, a drone may deliver supplies to inaccessible areas in disaster-stricken areas or war-torn countries. For example, drones may be used to deliver medications, food supplies, clothing, and water to trapped victims before rescue workers can transport them to a safe location.
Drones are being designed to monitor unpredictable weather. Since they are inexpensive and unmanned,drones may be sent into storms and tornadoes providing scientists and weather forecasters with greater insights into their activity and path. Its specialised sensors may be utilised to collect data, analyze climate conditions, and prevent mishaps.
The activity of poaching has been prevented to a great extent by the use of drones. They offer exceptional security to wildlife such as elephants, rhinos, and other animals, which are favorite targets for poachers. Drones can function at night because of their infrared cameras and sensors.This allows them to monitor and observe wildlife without disturbing them and gives information on their patterns, behaviour, and habitat.
Drones are also being used to transport donated organs to transplant patients. This might help to reduce the alarmingly slow rate at which donations are usually received (if they arrive at all). Organs are often transported through chartered or commercial planes. Drones can significantly reduce travel time while also providing a safer and more secure means of organ transportation.
Drone technology and its applications have a bright future. Drone technology has evolved from its basic beginnings to what we know today, and it will continually evolve and become more integrated in society as new applications for it emerge.Using hydrogen fuel cells as a power source would be beneficial and would further revolutionize drone technology. Making innovations to a drone’s ability to rest can help to increase its operating duration by conserving the battery.It is simply a matter of how we apply these developments that will determine the role and significance of drone technology in our lives and society.