Drones explained for engineering students

A drone, in a technological context, 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.

In this article we are going to talk about drones and UAVs.

The aircrafts may be remotely controlled or can 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.

History of Drone

Origin of a drone can be traced with special techniques to provide relevant information to military. The very first aircraft with reusable type radio control mechanism was designed in 30s and it worked like a base model for all new advancements of today’s world.

Later, the military drones were developed with classic sensors and camera units and now they have been fixed inside missiles too. With so much advancement in technology, now you can easily find so many variants of drones. Few are used for military applications but others are finding the potential role in many big companies.

As per a recent new update, Google and Amazon are developing their own drones so that parcels can be delivered by air with ease. One more interesting concept is presented by Facebook as they are thinking to develop some giant drones that can carry signal to remote locations for direct internet access.

Drones in today’s world have also been an important part of film industry and news reporters are also using them to carry information from inaccessible locations.

How does a drone work

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 infra-red cameras (military UAV), GPS and laser (military UAV). Drones are controlled by remote control system also sometimes 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 which can absorb vibration which decreases the noise produced and also light weight.

Commercial Potential

In the end of 2013, Amazon announced its idea to start using drones for delivery in the near future. The company’s plan was to introduce the Amazon Prime Air service to deliver orders of up to five pounds within a 10-mile radius in as little as 30 minutes.

Amazon states that using drones will not only make the company’s services faster but would also be a way of delivery that is much more environmentally-friendly than using trucks.

Perhaps the closest thing to a UAV in space is the X-37B, which looks like a miniature version of NASA’s now-retired space shuttle. The unpiloted spacecraft has had three missions and was deployed on a fourth in May 2015.

Most of its work is highly classified, making it difficult to say what it does up there for so long. However, the Air Force has some information available about the fourth mission. In an e-mail with Space.com in May 2015, Air Force spokesperson Capt. Chris Hoyler said the X-37B would have an experimental propulsion system and an investigation into how well materials perform in space.

Drones in war

An unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), also known as a combat drone or simply a drone, is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that usually carries aircraft ordnance such as missiles and is used for drone strikes. Aircraft of this type have no onboard human pilot. These drones are usually under real-time human control, with varying levels of autonomy. They are used in drone strikes.

Equipment necessary for a human pilot (such as the cockpit, armor, ejection seat, flight controls, and environmental controls for pressure and oxygen) are not needed. As the operator runs the vehicle from a remote terminal, resulting in a lower weight and a smaller size than a manned aircraft.

Indian Drone

The DRDO Netra is an Indian, light-weight, autonomous UAV for surveillance and reconnaissance operations. It has been jointly developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s Research and Development Establishment (R&DE), and IdeaForge, a Mumbai-based private firm.

There are two types of learning in drone 

  1. Flying
  2. Building

Drone flying
Drone is a complex device. It is hard to control  you need to understand how to fly otherwise drone will crash. To protect it from the crash you must understand the basics of flying a drone. Know how to manage different conditions, for which things you will need to be always ready.

There are several places where you can learn how to fly a drone. We have shorted the list for you.

Drone Building

Building a drone is very interesting and hardworking. You can do the electronics of your drone using Arduino and RF transmitter and receiver.

Learn to Build your drone with us at Eckovation
Build your own drone

We have created a playlist of drone videos on YouTube do check it out 

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