In this post, I am going to give you the in-depth knowledge of the drone. Do not worry first I will answer your question: What is a Drone?
What is a Drone? So If go strictly by the definition, It is a small flying craft that can be controlled by a remote.
Essentially, a drone is a flying robot that can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in their embedded systems, working in conjunction with onboard sensors and GPS.
Drones are also known by different names, such as UAV(Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), Quadcopters or as I simply address them as UMV(Unmanned Vehicles).
I hope I answered your question: What is a drone ? Let’s step back and learn a little bit about the history of drones.
Drones were used before 2006 as well but the widespread use of drones began in 2006 when the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency introduced UAVs to monitor the U.S. and Mexico border.
As you might be aware , in late 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced a plan to use commercial drones for delivery activities.
However, in July 2016, Reno-based startup Flirtey beat Amazon to the punch, successfully delivering a package to a resident in Nevada via a commercial drone.
Then in December 2016, Amazon delivered its first Prime Air package in Cambridge, England. In March of 2017, it demonstrated a Prime Air drone delivery in California.
As we see the extensive use of drones in various fields. With the use, drone education is also expanding; There are lot of universities in US are offering Bachelors & Masters in unmanned system application or unmanned aerial systems.
How drones work
While drones serve a variety of purposes, such as recreational, photography, commercial and military.
Drones have two basic functions:
To achieve flight, drones consist of a power source, such as battery or fuel, rotors, propellers, and a frame.
The frame of a drone is typically made of lightweight, composite materials, to reduce weight and increase maneuverability during flight.
Drones require a controller, which is used remotely by an operator to launch, navigate and land it. Controllers communicate with the drone using radio waves, including Wi-Fi.
For navigation purposes, drones use various types of sensors and devices like GPS, Accelerometer etc.
Technology, features, and Threats
Which Operating System is used in Drones?
Most unmanned aircraft use Linux and a few MS Windows. The Linux Foundation has a project launched in 2014 called the Dronecode project.
The Dronecode Project is an open-source, collaborative project which brings together existing and future open-source unmanned aerial vehicle projects under a nonprofit structure governed by The Linux Foundation. The result is a common, shared open-source platform for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).
can drones be hacked ?
Drones in some ways are like flying computers. With an operating system, flight controllers and mainboards with programmable code, they can also be hacked into.
Drones have been developed to fly around seeking other drones and hacking into the drone’s wireless network, disconnecting the owner and take over that drone. However, there are some practical ways to protect your drone from hackers.
Different Types of Drones
Drone platforms have two main types: rotor, including single-rotor or multi-rotor (such as tri-copters, quadcopters, hexacopters, and octocopters), or fixed-wing, which include the hybrid VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) drones that don’t require runways.
Drones can be categorized as either personal/hobbyist or commercial/enterprise.
Many personal drones are now available for consumer use, offering HD video or still camera capabilities, or to simply fly around. These drones often weigh anywhere from less than a pound to 10 pounds.
Tethered drones are another option, though with the obvious limitation that they are physically tethered to a base station.
Certain tethered drones can solve the challenge many drones face when it comes to the power supply if the tether provides the direct power supply.
The Safe-T tethering station for drones from Elistair, for example, offers 2.5 kW power and can fly to heights of more than 200 feet, with data transfer rates of up to 200 Mb/s.
Below is the list of the most common commercial drone manufacturers :
DJI is the most popular drone manufacturer in US
Drone Security & Safety
The increasing popularity of drones over the past decade has sparked a number of privacy, security and safety complaints and concerns.
As the popularity of drones over the past decade has increase manifold so does the privacy, security and safety concerns.
From a privacy standpoint, people have used drones to obtain images of individuals in their homes or other locations once assumed to be private. Drones have also been deployed in areas deemed potentially unsafe, such as urban areas and near airports.
Growth in commercial and personal drones has also created safety concerns, namely midair collisions and loss of drone control. Specific concerns about drones flying too close to commercial aircraft have prompted calls for regulation.
Below I have given few guidelines which every drone pilot should follow irrespective of its geographical location
- Drones must at all times remain close enough to the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls for those people to be capable of seeing the aircraft unaided by any device other than corrective lenses;
- UAVs may not operate over anyone not directly participating in the operation, under a covered structure or inside a covered stationary vehicle;
- Daylight-only operations, or civil twilight (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) with appropriate anti-collision lighting;
FAA has also laid down certain rules and regulation which differ for personal or commercial drone use. For example, a Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the FAA is required to fly drones commercially and commercial UAVs must be registered and flown at or under 100 mph.
While many countries have established UAV regulations, others have not. As drone usage grows in popularity, laws are continually changing.
Before you start using a drone commercially or personally, it is critical to check the laws of the country in which they are being operated.
Because every country has different rules and regulation for Drone Pilots.
In China, for example, any drone flying higher than 400 feet requires a license from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
Also, drones weighing in at more than 15 pounds also require a license, and no-fly zones must be adhered to.
In the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) restricts drones from flying above 500 feet.
Additionally, any drone weighing more than a half-pound must be registered with the CAA. The organization has also published its “Dronecode:”
- Don’t fly near airports or airfields
- Remember to stay below 400 feet and at least 150 feet away from buildings and people
- Observe your drone at all times
- Never fly near aircraft
- Enjoy responsibly
Future of Drones
Nowadays, drones are extremely popular and they have countless applications. However, in the future, they are going to be much better, so they will have even more applications. Even today, drones are used for transporting goods to remote locations, for surveillance and etc. In the future, we can expect to see drones that can do this much better.
There are a lot of speculations on what drones will be capable for in the future. The most likely thing they will do is package transport. At this moment, Amazon is testing their Amazon Prime Air service. This means that when you order a package, it will be delivered to you in less than 30 minutes, instead of a few days.
Although this service isn’t available right now, nor it will be anytime soon, it is very likely that in a few years Amazon will be able to achieve this goal. According to this company, 87% of their packages have a weight of 5 pounds, so they have small dimensions. All of these packages can be delivered by a drone.
As you may believe, future drones will be used in surveillance, even more than today. Extremely small drones will be able to pass enemy lines and gain valuable information about the enemy army. Eventually, they will be able to collect all the data an army needs, so spies and spy satellites won’t be needed anymore. For more information on this interesting topic, we suggest taking a look at our article about drone trends and what will the future bring for drones.