Types of Drones: Let us Check Them Out With A Variety Of Details


A man flying through the air while riding a wave in the ocean

Types of drones are a matter of concern after you learn something about the drone. The flying object which does not need any pilot to fly a drone. However, the terms generated many years back with a whole different idea. During that time, drones generally came in with some considerable size options. And it was before the discovery of aircraft by Writ brothers. However, the drone of today has a different notion altogether. Therefore we are here to discuss the types of drones. Therefore without further ado, let us get going:

Types of Drones: Let us Check Them Out With A Variety Of Details
Types of Drones: Let us Check Them Out With A Variety Of Details

Types Of Drones: Some Notion To Know

As pointed out popularly, the term drone, without qualifier or context, is too vague. I will, however, assume some background and try and answer this. My approach is to give a background that allows you to follow up with specific reading on existing types of drones.

The first primary qualifier that segregates drones into classes is the application industry. The systems used for defense use differ a lot from the ones used in the civilian domain, in terms of capabilities, the quality of hardware, failsafe mechanisms, and system reliability. This is indicative of current times and gets expected to change as organizations like FAA try and standardize requirements. If that happens, the difference would only remain in the more hardened hardware gets used in defense applications.

Some More Notions To Check Out

The defense is where drones first evolved as technology and which led to accelerated development of subsystem technologies. However, in defense, the broad classification would first be in terms of aircraft flight envelope (Fixed-wing/VTOL, Maximum Altitude, Maximum Takeoff Altitude, Maximum Landing Altitude, Range, etc.), capabilities (endurance, stability, control systems, launch and recovery requirements), followed by the payload systems.

Points To Check Out

Also, the first qualifier would classify DRONES into Micro Aerial Vehicles, Low Altitude Systems, Medium Altitude Long Endurance Systems, High Altitude Systems, with continuously blurring boundaries. Nano vehicles are a reality now. Also, there are no signs of impending development at either end of the spectrum.

Additionally, most drones get used in defense would have some level of autonomous capabilities. And also, most typically they would have the ability to execute a pre-programmed mission (waypoints and payload actions) or a Assisted Remotely piloted mode whereby a human pilot on ground navigates or maneuvers (depending on the level of autonomy) the vehicle, with payload exploitation by the same guy or an independent operator.

Types of Drones: Let us Check Them Out With A Variety Of Details
Types of Drones: Let us Check Them Out With A Variety Of Details

Some More Variants To Check Out

The development is happening at such a fast pace that earlier differentiation is merging as co-existing features. e.g., VTOL Fixed Wings are a reality now.

Civilian drones typically are broadly two types. The first being less hardened versions of Defense counterparts with civilian payloads get used for Atmospheric Research, High Altitude Photography, Precision Imaging, etc., Additionally, the second category is the commercially available RPVs, quadrotors, and DIY drones equipped with cameras to record or live stream aerial video. Also, These systems have lower-cost hardware and have reliability limitations in adverse conditions. However, they pose a minimal barrier to entry for general folk to take up and use them. Hence the unprecedented popularization and sales. Also, It raised a significant challenge to the efforts towards standardization and integration into the airspace of these systems.

Additionally, there are a lot more details on any of these topics and will touch upon them if there are followup articles in a more specific direction.

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