• Shiva Prakash M C

DRONE : AN UNMANNED VEHICLE


One of the most important thing that comes to our mind in terms of technology are drones. A drone is an unmanned aircraft which is also referred as a flying robot and that can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously through software controlled flight plans working in conjunction with an onboard sensors and GPS. A drones can be used in various fields such as recreational, photography, commercial and military purposes with their main functions including flight and navigation.


In order to achieve flight, drones consist of a power source such as battery or fuel, rotors, propellers and a frame which is typically made up of lightweight composite materials such that it reduces the weight and increase its maneuverability during flight. A drones can be equipped with various sensors such as distance sensors (Ultrasonic, Laser and Lidar), time of flight sensors, chemical sensors and orientation sensors along with a controller which can be used by an operator remotely in order to launch, navigate and land it properly.


Visual sensors will offer a still or video data while the RGB sensors collect the standard visual red, green and blue wavelengths and multi-spectral sensors collects visible and non-visible wavelengths such as infrared and ultraviolet rays. Accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers and barometers are also some of the added features to the drone. Navigational system such as GPS are typically housed on the nose of a drone and it helps in communicating its precise location with the controller. Some drones even employ obstacle detection and collision avoidance sensors, which are used to detect objects in all the six directions (front, back, below, above and side to side).


Basically the drone platforms are of two main types i.e. Single-rotor or Multi-rotor (Tricopters, Quad-copters, Hexacopters and Octocopters) with fixed wings, which includes the hybrid VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) that does not require any runways. Drones can be categorized either for a personal or commercial/enterprise purposes, which can offer the HD videos with still camera capabilities or simply to fly around. These drones often weigh from less than a pound to 10 pounds.

An integration of drones with Internet of Things (IOT) has led to the huge applications by working with on-ground IOT sensor networks, which can help the agricultural companies in monitoring their land and crops, energy companies for operational equipment and military fields for surveillance and delivery applications. The usage of drones outside the military field has grown tremendously over the past decade and beyond the surveillance or delivery applications, UAV’s are being used for various operations such as search and rescue, disaster response, asset protection, wildlife monitoring, firefighting, communications relay, healthcare, agriculture and much more.


In terms of economic impact, Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) has predicted the drone industry to create more than 100,000 jobs and add $82 billion to the economy of our country by 2025. An unmanned aircraft's are already breaking barriers and huge corporations like Amazon and Google are testing their ways to deliver packages with drones. Facebook is using drones to provide an Internet connection in remote locations and there are many other start-up companies working on the usage of unmanned aircraft for various purposes.


It is obvious that the drone technology has been an important part in various fields and set to become a big commercial industry. In upcoming years, we can experience the future of drone technology with its various features in different fields.

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