A drone, in a technological context, is an unmanned aircraft. Drones are more formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UASes). 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.
The inventor Nikola Telsa was the first to foresee the coming of militarized unmanned vehicles. In the 1898 patent “Method of and Apparatus for Controlling Mechanism of Moving Vessels or Vehicles” (No.613,809), Telsa described, in a seemingly prophetic tone, the wide range of possibilities for his new radio-control technology:
The invention which I have described will prove useful in many ways. Vessels or vehicles of any suitable kind may be used, as life, despatch, or pilot boats or the like, or for carrying letters packages, provisions, instruments, objects… but the greatest value of my invention will result from its effect upon warfare and armaments, for by reason of its certain and unlimited destructiveness it will tend to bring about and maintain permanent peace among nations.
Drones came into first use after World War II when unmanned jets, such as the Ryan Firebee (a documentary about the Firebee and the use of early drones in the Vietnam War), started field operation.
A typical drone aircraft is made of light composite materials to reduce weight and increase maneuverability. Drones are equipped with different technologies as infra-red cameras (military UAV), GPS and laser (military UAV) and etc. Drones can be controlled by remote control system or a ground cockpit.
Drones come in a wide variety of sizes, with the large drone mostly used for military purposes such as the Predator drone, other smaller drones which can be launched by hand, to other unmanned aircraft which require short runways. An unmanned aerial vehicle system has two parts, the drone itself and the control system.
What Is A Drone (UAV) Technology
The base technologies used in drones are radar positioning and gyro stabilization.
The radar displays the current position and location of the drone in relation to the pilot. Exceeding the control range of the remote control will trigger ‘Return-to-Home’, meaning the UAV will automatically fly back to its takeoff point and land safely.
Gyro Stabilization, IMU And Flight Controllers
Gyro stabilization technology is one of the components which gives the drone it’s smooth flight capabilities. The gyroscope needs to work almost instantly to the forces moving against the drone. The gyroscope provides essential navigational information to the central flight controller.
The Gyroscope is a component of the IMU and the IMU is an essential component of the drones flight controller. The flight controller is the central brain of the drone.
In order to increase flight safety and prevent accidental flights in restricted areas, the new firmware for the Phantom UAV series includes a “No Fly Zone feature”. These no fly zones have been divided into two categories: A and B.
When the compass on the drone s is calibrated, the drone then seeks the location of GPS satellites. When more than 6 are found, it allows the drone to fly in “Ready To Fly” Mode. Calibration of the Compass is required to set a home point. The home point is the location where the drone will return to in case of loss of signal between the drone and the remote control system. This is also know as “fail-safe function”.
FPV is “First Person View” which means a video camera is mounted on the unmanned aerial vehicle and broadcasts the live video to the pilot on the ground so the pilot is flying the aircraft as if he/she was on-board the aircraft instead of looking at the craft from the pilot’s actual ground position.
FPV allows the unmanned aircraft to fly much higher and further than you can from the looking at the aircraft from the ground. FPV control allows for more precise flying around obstacles especially with unmanned aerial vehicles which can easily fly indoors and through forests via FPV where you would not be able to see obstacles from a fixed position.
This FPV technology using radio signal to transmit and receive the live video.
Sources: https://www.thoughtco.com, https://www.dronezon.com, https://www.wikipedia.org/