Understanding Drones: Components and Applications

Drones have become common these days for monitoring purpose or for handling with dangerous substances.
A drone, in technological terms, is an unmanned aircraft this means that it doesn’t need an on-board pilot to fly. Drones are more formally known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs). Essentially, a drone is a flying robot that can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously through software- predefined flight routes with the help of onboard sensors and GPS.
One of the most common and popular flying drone designs is the quadcopter, which is a type of drone that is lifted and propelled by four rotors. Quadcopters today, are very easy to fly in any direction. They can also hover or fly in any direction, lift or descend through remote controller stick.
Let’s dive into more details of hardware of drones, types of drones, how exactly does it work and fly.
Classification of Drones
Drones can be classified based on their different types and sizes as shown below. The largest drones are used for military purposes. Some military drones can be as large as a Boeing plane. The second-largest drones are unmanned air crafts. These are used in a wide range of industries and are preferable for their ability to cover large areas such drones are often used for geographical surveying.

The most common consumer drones, which are also the smallest, are classified as VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) drones. They are small enough to be carried by hands and are mostly used by consumers for personal and commercial purposes.
Components of Drones
The core components used for construction of a quadcopter are the frame, propellers and the electric motors. It also contains a large number of technological components as shown in the below figure:

Frame/Chassis: Every quadcopter needs a frame to integrate all the components together. Things to consider here are weight, size, and materials.

Propellers: Propellers are blades which when rotated generate thrust by pushing the air downwards. These are specified based on diameter and pitch. A quadcopter has four propellers, two propellers that spin counter-clockwise, and two propellers that spin clockwise.


ESC: The electronic speed control or ESC tells the motors how fast to spin at any given time.

Motors: Motors are the primary force behind how quadcopters fly. Drone’s motors are rated in “Kv” units which indicates how many revolutions per minute(RPMs) it can achieve if provided with voltage of 1 volt under no load.

Camera: The Raspberry Pi camera module is used to capture high-definition video, as well as still photographs. It is easy to integrate the camera module to the Raspberry Pi.

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