Drones are some of the coolest gizmos anyone can get today. There are plenty of creative ways to use drones, from aerial surveillance and motion picture filmmaking to recreational use. Today, we’re going to explain to you how these unmanned aerial units take to the sky, so stay tuned.
How Drones Work
There are several components that come into play when it comes to how a drone works. To help you grasp the full picture, we’re going to break down each and every one of these components.
Virtually all drones are maneuvered remotely, either by a joystick or a smartphone. The wireless connectivity that most drones rely upon is made possible with the aid of GPS technology, which helps grant pilots birds-eye view of their surroundings. That’s not all this has to offer, though.
Drone pilots are also able to utilize apps that can pre-program definite GPS coordinates in order to create an automated flight path. Wireless connectivity also allows drone pilots to keep tabs on the battery, which is a crucial feature to have in any drone since drones use smaller batteries.
There are plenty of other drone features that rely upon GPS connectivity, including position hold, which is a feature that’s very common amongst small UAV drones. This feature allows the drone to maintain its position. You can let go of the controller and it’ll still hold altitude and location.
Another cool GPS-oriented function is the return to home feature. As the name implies, this is a feature that enables your drone to fly back to the position from which it took off. This is a feature that’s common in most consumer models, and it comes in handy in emergency situations.
Ever wondered why drones are often called quadcopters? It’s because most consumers drones rely on four rotors in order to take to the sky. You can think of a rotor as a fan, as they utilize the same concept. To hover, the rotors produce a downward thrust equating the gravitational pull.
So how exactly do drones ascend and descend in the air? For a drone to ascend, the four rotors have to produce a downward thrust that’s greater than the gravitational pull. And for the drone to descend, the downward thrust caused by the rotors needs to be inferior to the gravitational pull.
You may be wondering, how do drones hover in one location without falling? In order to hover in one spot, the sideways momentum of the drone must be balanced. For this to take place, two of the rotors have to rotate clockwise while the other two rotate in a counter-clockwise fashion.
Lastly, what about when the drone is moving in a vertical motion? Depending on the direction of the flight, two of the rotors need to rotate relatively faster than the other two. This helps prevent throwing the drone off balance. Keeping your drone balanced takes quite a bit of practice.
Altimeter and Accelerometer
Not all drones are created equal. Yes, they’re all able to fly, but some do better than others, and this has to do with two main components: the altimeter and the accelerometer. The former is the component that helps determine the drone’s altitude as well as control it, capiche?
It’s important to keep in mind that it’s vital to keep a drone’s altitude in check because if a drone flies too high, it could be impaired by aerial obstacles such as vigorous winds. This also applies to low altitudes. If a drone flies too low, it could fly into ground obstacles and collapse.
It’s worth noting that a lot of the latest high-end models are equipped with technologies that help them detect and avoid obstacles, be it aerial or ground obstacles, in the form of sensors such as infrared sensors, monocular vision sensors, ultrasonic sensors, lidar sensors, and more.
Drones employ SLAM technology and proprietary software algorithms in order to process visual scans. What we mean by processing is converting the visual scans into 3D maps. After that, the drone utilizes different smart technologies in order to steer clear of obstacles in its course.
Okay, so how do you maneuver the speed and direction of the drone? This is where the drone’s accelerometer comes into play. An accelerometer helps generate the acceleration force that the drone is subjected to in all three directions: X, Y, and Z. It also influences the drone’s tilt angle.
Not all drones are photography or camera drones. Cameras help grant the pilot a birds-eye view of the drone’s surroundings. It enables pilots to take pictures and shoot videos from above. Most drones come equipped with onboard HD cameras, but you can always install your own.
Keep in mind that due to the fact that camera drones can raise some concerns as far as privacy, there are some rules and regulations that you have to abide by when flying a drone. These rules govern where you can fly your drone. Check out this article on the uses of drone cameras.
Consumer drones are limited to particular distances. If you fly beyond the recommended range, the connection between the controller and the drone will be lost. When this happens, the drone will crash, unless it’s equipped with a fail-safe function like the return to home function.
Range extenders facilitate the communication between the controller and the drone beyond the recommended range. Range extenders can increase the flying range of a drone by as much as 2000 feet. Of course, not all extenders are built the same, so you need to choose wisely.
Drones are evolving at a rapid rate. Manufacturers are coming up with new types of drones on a regular basis, from selfie drones to waterproof drones. Hopefully, the information provided in this brief informational guide has helped your inquisitive mind grasp how drones work.
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