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A drone, in technological terms, 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 that can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in their embedded systems, working in conjunction with onboard sensors and GPS.
In the recent past, UAVs were most often associated with the military, where they were used initially for anti-aircraft target practice, intelligence gathering and then, more controversially, as weapons platforms. Drones are now also used in a wide range of civilian roles ranging from search and rescue, surveillance, traffic monitoring, weather monitoring and firefighting, to personal drones and business drone-based photography, as well as videography, agriculture and even delivery services.
Many trace the history of drones to 1849 Italy, when Venice was fighting for its independence from Austria. Austrian soldiers attacked Venice with hot-air, hydrogen- or helium-filled balloons equipped with bombs. The first pilotless radio-controlled aircraft were used in World War I. In 1918, the U.S. Army developed the experimental Kettering Bug, an unmanned "flying bomb" aircraft, which was never used in combat.
The first generally used drone appeared in 1935 as a full-size retooling of the de Havilland DH82B "Queen Bee" biplane, which was fitted with a radio and servo-operated controls in the back seat. The plane could be conventionally piloted from the front seat, but generally it flew unmanned and was shot at by artillery gunners in training. The term drone dates to this initial use, a play on the "Queen Bee" nomenclature.
UAV technology continued to be of interest to the military, but it was often too unreliable and costly to put into use. After concerns about the shooting down of spy planes arose, the military revisited the topic of unmanned aerial vehicles. Military use of drones soon expanded to play roles in dropping leaflets and acting as spying decoys.
A typical unmanned aircraft is made of light composite materials to reduce weight and increase maneuverability. This composite material strength allows military drones to cruise at extremely high altitudes.
Drones are equipped with different state of the art technology such as infrared cameras, GPS and laser (consumer, commercial and military UAV). Drones are controlled by remote ground control systems (GSC) and also referred to as a ground cockpit.
An unmanned aerial vehicle system has two parts, the drone itself and the control system.
The nose of the unmanned aerial vehicle is where all the sensors and navigational systems are present. The rest of the body is full of drone technology systems since there is no need for space to accommodate humans.
The engineering materials used to build the drone are highly complex composites designed to absorb vibrations, which decrease the noise produced. These materials are very light weight.
The various areas of application of drones are as follows :
1. REMOTE SENSING
2. COMMERCIAL AERIAL SURVEILLANCE
4. COMMERCIAL AND MOTION PICTURE FILMMAKING
3. FIRE FIRGHTING
5. REAL ESTATE AND CONSTRUCTION
6. RECREATIONAL USE
7. OIL, GAS, AND MINERAL EXPLORATION
8. DISASTER RELIEF
10. MILITARY OPERATIONS
These are the very small Nano/Mini Quadcopters, some no bigger than the palm of your hand. Easy to fly and considered the best drones for beginners. They are affordable, many are less than $70.00, some also have built-in cameras.
They are great for flying indoors because of their small size and usually don’t cause any damage to walls or furniture. Most come with propeller guards to help protect the quadcopter from damage during the learning process. Small quadcopters like the Holy Stone HS170 Predator Mini Drone and the Parrot Airborne Cargo MiniDrone are great choices for beginners.
Probably the most popular class, these Hobby Drones are more of a mid-sized machine with larger propellers and larger frames, Usually flown outdoors and ranging in price from $50.00 to $500.00. Most have cameras for those that want to try some aerial photography, but don’t expect the resolution quality you would find in more expensive models .
New models now include features like Headless Mode, Altitude Hold and One Key Takeoff and Landing for easier operation. There are also Low Priced Beginner WIFI/ FPV Drones for a real birds eye view. Some popular inexpensive models include the Syma X5C-1 Explorer and the UDI U818A WiFi FPV with the Holy Stone HS100G and Parrot Bebop 2 being on the higher end.
Professional Drones offer the best in drone technology, with features well suited for taking aerial photography, they offer longer flight times, typically around 25 minutes or more. Most new models are now equipped with obstacle avoidance. Considered the best choice for anyone serious about aerial photography.
Prices start at around $700.00 and can go into the thousands. Two of the most popular models are the DJI Phantom 4 Professional and the DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drones. Others include the EVO Drone from Autel Robotics and the Yuneec Typhoon H Plus Hexacopter also with Collision Avoidance.
Small and compact, Selfie Drones are becoming popular among many consumers. A great choice for anyone looking for a drone that is easy to carry around and can be flown indoors and out. Prices range from $50 to $800 depending on camera quality and features.
Some of the most popular models include the low cost JJRC H37 to the high end DJI Spark which offers Facial Recognition and Gesture Control. These models have become a favorite for professionals and hobbyists alike because of their small size and ready to fly out of the box capabilities. Now you can be in the picture every time, with the power to capture awesome “dronies” anytime.
Racing Drones have gained in popularity with drone flyers both young and old alike. These small, agile machines are a blast to fly with the aid of goggles. Get a real cockpit perspective while flying threw and around obstacles at amazing speeds. You can build one or buy one, it’s up to you. If you have some experience and flying fast while racing against fellow flyers appeals to you, then a racing drone is what you need.
A few popular models include the Walkera F210 and the Eachine Wizard X220S or you can build your own with FPV frame kits, that have different styles. A word of caution, They take some practice, even for experienced flyers. If your a beginner, we suggest you start with a cheaper model like a mini or hobby drone before you buy a Racing Drone.
Predictions for the drone market are both aggressive and optimistic. A 2016 Business Insider BI Intelligence report forecasted drone revenues to reach $12 billion in 2021, with the growth of enterprise drone use to outpace the consumer drone sector in both shipments and revenues by 2021, reaching 29 million shipments worldwide.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has valued the drone-based businesses service market at more than $127 billion, with the top industries being infrastructure at $45.2 billion, agriculture at $32.5 billion and transportation at $13.0 billion.
In terms of economic impact, the association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) predicts the drone industry will create more than 100,000 U.S. jobs and add $82 billion to the U.S. economy by 2025.
Goldman Sachs predicts a $100 billion market for drones between 2016 and 2020, with the military making up the bulk of it with $70 billion spending. Consumer drones will take a $17 billion share of that market, with commercial and civil government use making up $13 billion. Breaking that down, the construction industry is expected to spend $11.164 million on applications such as surveying, building inspection and monitoring, and agriculture at $5.922 million on applications including health monitoring, soil scanning and yield estimates. Other top industries include insurance claims, offshore oil and gas, and refining, U.S. police, fire, Coast Guard and Customer and Border Protection, journalism, real estate and utilities.