What Is a Drone? A Breakdown of Drone Technology over the Years

Call them what you want, the name is still much debated, but drones have captured people’s attention. 

We’ve all heard about how these machines will hurtle across the sky to deliver pizzas and packages, take great pictures, and perform a lot of other tasks.

We have also seen how the word has been used to describe unmanned, military vessels, which controversially determines life and death – but that is another matter.

 So what is a drone exactly? What can you do with drones? 

How do you choose the right drone? How does a drone work? 

How do you maintain a drone? How many types of drones are there? 

What are the rules for flying with a drone?

There are so many questions about drones.

This text will provide some information about drones and possibly answer some of your most burning questions.

Some of our Favorite Drones

Drone

Features

Price

DJI Inspire 2.0 Quadcopter Combo, Includes Zenmuse X5S...
  • advanced obstacle sensing
  • record 4K and 5.2K video in low-compression
  • powerful tracking mode
YUNEEC YUNH920US Drone Tornado H920 Hexa-Copter with ST24...
  • retractable landing gear
  • can carry heavier cameras
  • carbon fiber frame
Autel Robotics EVO 2 Quadcopter UAV - EVO II Series Drone,...
  • 40 minute flight time
  • 8k camera
  • 9-km  and 360° collision avoidance
Table Of Contents

What is a drone?

Drones have become a popular tool in recent years with the number of users growing day by day.

You may have seen them in many stores or perhaps in use by a photographer or at a concert.

The point is that during the rise of demand and increased usage of drones, you have probably encountered one.

So what is a drone?

Simply put a drone is an unmanned aircraft.

However, in today’s world, a drone refers to a multirotor aircraft that can be used by just about anyone.

A multirotor can have three or more propellers that are used to hover or fly in any given direction.

The most popular multirotor on the market today is possibly the quadcopter which has four propellers.

History of Drones

Here’s some drone information that deals with drones from their origin to the present.

Multi-copters (also called drones) were a bit of a subculture until a small business that made entertainment equipment for cars, caught the world’s attention with their AR Drone in connection with the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in 2010.

The Parrot AR Drone was a 22-inch multi-copter and a genuine consumer product that was ready to fly as soon as it was taken out of its box.

The drone was made of nylon and carbon fiber and had a removable airframe of lightweight polystyrene. 

It also had a small front-mounted camera built-in. 

However, this drone was special because it could be controlled from an iPhone via Wi-Fi, which was fascinating. 

The journalists who attended the CES had only just become accustomed to the world of iPhone Apps (a technology which at that time was only 18 months old), and a remote-controlled drone appealed to everyone.

 The drone attracted attention from Apple and journalists from the telecom and computer games industry. 

People from the photographic industry were attracted to the flying camera (even though the quality wasn’t very good) and so on. 

Overall, the AR Drone got a lot of press coverage at the time.

Chris Anderson, the editor of the technology magazine wire at the time, started to create the ArduCopter project, and in connection with this, he also created the networking website DIYDrones.com, to describe and support the project. 

DIYDrones.com has since added a commercial leg – namely 3DR Robotics, which sells drones in kit form; ready to be built. 

However, 3DR doesn’t have the market for itself. 

DJI from China had in 2013 established a large variety of components as well alongside probably the most respected quadcopter on the market at that particular time, the Phantom (series) quadcopter.

The launch of DJI’sPhantom Quadcopter ‘ was the start of their big success in the present drone market.

 To increase the market for drones, the DJI realized that they had to appeal to a group that had a real need for corporate drones and not only amateurs.

This group was creative people who worked with aerial photography and video recordings. 

DJI decided to make the Phantom easier to use and improved the drone’s ability to take pictures.

It was the beginning of people’s perception of drones and what they could be used for and what they were/could become able to do.

Military Drones

When people hear the word ‘drone’, the first thing they think of is often the devastating use (abuse?) of powerful military aircraft. 

The best-known series of these is the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, which officially was first used for the first time in 1995. 

But it was not the first time that the military showed interest in unmanned aircraft.

The earliest historical source that refers to unmanned military aircraft dates back to 1849 when Austrian forces tried to besiege Venice. Austrians filled balloons with bombs, and when the wind carried them over Venice, the bombs triggered. 

There is a long line from that technology to today’s use of unmanned aircraft, which more directly can be traced to WW1.

In 1917, the English engineer Archibald Low, who was head of the Royal Flying Corps Experimental Works, built a radio-controlled aircraft that became known as “Ruston Proctor AT”. 

The intention was to place explosives on the plane and steer it toward the goal, which made it the first cruise missile in history.

Israel’s invasion of Syria in 1982, started a more aggressive use of unmanned aircraft (UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)

Israel used among other drones as electronic decoys and jammers, which helped to secure them the victory over the Syrian air force. 

After this success, it was almost inevitable that other military forces wouldn’t take these aircraft seriously.

 This led to more advanced drones, which can fly semi-automatic and carry missiles that can be fired through remote controls.

The rapid development of this type of vessel has given some governments new opportunities, but military drones are today still very controversial.

The development of Multi-Copters

Just like the UAVs have a longer history than most envisioned, the multi-copters also have a significant heritage.

 In addition to balloons and Zeppelins, multi-copters (including manned Quadcopters) have conducted some of the earliest vertical launches and landings in history. 

1907 – Gyroplane No. 1

As early as 1907 – more than 30 years before the first helicopter – flew the French brothers Louis and Jacques Breguet what was essentially a large Quadcopter.

 Their so-called Gyroplane 1 was “controlled” by Monsieur Volumard.

 Although the vessel was able to carry its weight, it had to be controlled with rope from the ground.

 It was designed with four blades for each rotor, and each blade was eight meters long.

1958 – Curtiss-Wright VZ-7

The Curtiss-Wright VZ – 7 (also called the flying jeep), was used by the US military between 1958 and 1960. 

The VZ-7 had a fuselage with the pilot’s seat, fuel tanks, and flight controls.

 On both sides of the fuselage, the propellers were attached, unshrouded (the aircraft did originally have shrouds, but these were later removed).

 There were 4 propellers in total. The VZ-7 was controlled by changing the thrust of each propeller. The flying platform was maneuverable and easy to fly.

 1922 – De Bothezat

The de Bothezat helicopter was an experimental quadrotor helicopter built for the United States Army Air Service by George de Bothezat in the early 1920s and was said to be the first successful helicopter.

 In 1923 succeeded the Brothers multi-copter to stay in the air for 2 minutes and 45 seconds, and then land safely again.

 Although its four massive six-bladed rotors allowed the craft to successfully fly, it suffered from complexity, control difficulties, and high pilot workload.

It was reportedly only capable of forwarding flight in a favorable wind.

 The Army canceled the program in 1924, and the aircraft was scrapped.

1966 – X- 22

One of the most significant developments happened with the X-22 in 1966. 

It had a computer on board to improve the stability, which was made possible by changing the angle of the propellers. 

Although the first X-22 crashed, nothing happened with the pilots. 

The Second edition of the vessel performed in the air for over 100 hours and while it could not fly with the planned speed of 525 km per hour, it was in operation until 1988.

1948 – Cierva W.11 Air Horse

When they started testing this drone in 1948, the Air Horse was the largest rotorcraft anyone had ever seen. 

All three rotors moved in the same direction. 

The aircraft had to angle the motors in opposite directions. 

This low-tech solution was used to prevent the machine from rotating itself.

1989 – MV-22 Osprey

The V-22 was first tested in 1989 but has since been used for active duty by the US Navy in 2007 – and later in the Air Force in 2009. 

Like the X-22, the MV-22 has adjustable rotors that allow for VTOL, flying at high speed, and can also be refilled in the air. 

The aircraft can land vertically like a helicopter or fly like an ordinary propeller aircraft when it has gained altitude. 

It is designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.

 Today

The idea of controlling individual motors without the pilot is what has made modern multi-copters possible today. 

Small radio-controlled Quadcopters have poor stability, and therefore, are an electronic control unit, the only way to fly them. 

The essential component for flying is a gyroscope – a technology that has been gradually improved in parallel with the vessels that depend on them. 

Although they were small enough to be used on aircraft during World War 2, they got even smaller during the missile era in which they filled 2.5 cm in diameter and weighed about 85 grams. 

Since the 1990s, digital MEME-gyroscopes has become an integral part of electronic circuits, and it is the same technology that makes smartphones know how it is held. 

These light gyros also made it possible for ordinary pilots to control the first RC helicopters. With gyros in the toolbox, the only thing that was missing was multi-copters to put them in.

Why is drone technology so popular today?

If you are wondering why drone technology is so popular today, then let me explain.

Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles(UAVs) are cool gadgets that can be guided remotely, navigated autonomously, without human control, or beyond the line of sight.  

The alone in itself is exciting enough but it is not the only reason that led to the increase in demand for drones.

They come in various sizes, designs, shapes, price ranges, and for different purposes.

There are toy drones, racing drones, camera drones, etc.

Many drones come with a camera wi\hich means that you can capture stunning videos and photos from up high.

Aerial footage is becoming quite a popular request and is a must when covering weddings, concerts, and any other type of special event.

These awesome little tools also come with some amazing features like the ability to keep the unit stable if a gust of wind tips it over.

This is all thanks to the built-in controller that adjusts the propeller speeds to re-level the drone.

This is why even someone without much flying experience or none can learn to pilot a drone.

Another cool feature that is loved by many drone users is that the drone can fly autonomously.

These drones do not require human input and are guided by GPS.

The Follow Me Mode seems to be one of the most sought-after features.

Activating the Follow me Mode will have the drone following you at a safe distance as it handles all of the camera work without you having any input at all.

How do drones work?

So how do drones work?

To have a better understanding of how drones work and fly, we’ll have a look at what drones are made up of and other aspects of their construction.

Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles(UAE) come in two parts.

First, you have the unit itself and second, you have the control system.

The drone itself usually features a body made up of light composite materials.

They are highly complex composites designed to absorb vibration which in turn decreases the amount of sound produced

The composite materials also help to reduce weight and increase maneuverability while flying.

The body needs to be lightweight since some drones come equipped with cameras, GPS-guided missiles, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), navigation systems, sensors, and other state-of-the-art technologies.

These can make the unit heavier and with a heavy body, it can be hard to control.

As mentioned before, drones come in various shapes, sizes and serve different purposes.

This would lead to a difference in the frame and construction.

However, every drone should include these basic components which are a waterproof motor frame, flight and motor controllers, motors, transmitter and receiver, propellers, and a battery or another source of energy.

You can find all the sensors and navigational systems on the nose of the drone while the rest of the drone is loaded with various drone technology.

How do drones fly?

This next bit answers your question of how do drones fly?

The wings of a traditional plane are curved shaped and it smashes into the air when they hit it. 

The shape of the wings means that the air above the wing is pushed away, whereby the pressure above the wing is less than under the wing, where the air is not disturbed.

 As soon as the pressure difference between the air above and below the wing is large enough, the wings are pushed upwards.

This works only when the wings move forward fast, and it creates the needed air, and therefore it is also necessary to have long runways. 

For helicopters, the same curves are being used for the rotor blades over the cockpit. 

The angle of the rotor blades of a helicopter can be adjusted, and the tail rotor can raise and lower the speed to rotate the cockpit – in much the same way as the rudder on a plane.

The tail rotor on a helicopter also has another function. If it wasn’t there, the cockpit would be spinning uncontrollably around itself.

Multi-copters are different compared to traditional aircraft. 

Forward momentum is essential for major parts of today’s air crafts. 

Multi-copters are much more flexible – only the propeller blades need to be aerodynamic, and control is achieved by small changes in their rotation.

Most multi-copters avoid these kinds of mechanical problems by making rapid changes in the rotational speed of an even number of matched propellers. 

There are several ways in which they can be arranged (listed below) also called: tricopters, quadcopters, hexacopters, and octocopters.

Tricopters

Tricopters consist of three vertical rotors. 

These three rotors generate buoyancy which is then used for control and movement.

Tricopters are fairly simple and are arguably less complicated than the others.

They come with the ability to fly only which is great for beginners and kids.

It is fairly easy to operate and the cost of these units usually rings in very cheap when compared to the others. 

Quadcopters

how do drones fly with four rotors

A quadcopter or quadrotor is a drone with four rotors that provide lift and propel the unit forward during flight.

These are the most common types of drones used today with the majority being used in the photography and videography world.

Currently, the market is saturated with all shapes and sizes of quadcopters and the pricing varies with some being affordable while others can fall into a higher price range.

However, because of the incredible stability and other great functions of a quadcopter, you don’t have to spend a lot to find a good one.

Hexacopters

how do drones work with six rotors

Since the prefix “hex” means 6, then your guess is correct, a hexacopter comes with six rotors.

These rotors are placed strategically in a circle around the body of the drone.

They also come with legs which make it easier to nail its landing by staying steady.

With these 6 rotors, hexacopters are excellent fliers and carry fairly heavy payloads.

Even at high altitudes or high wind situations, these rotors can slice through the air and keep the unit steady and afloat with ease.

These are the ideal gadgets for professional aerial photographers who want to capture amazing footage without worrying about many environmental factors like wind etc.

These units can cost a fair amount of money but are worth every penny.

Octocopters

drone information about octocopters

Equipped with two more rotors than a hexacopter, octocopters have a total of 8 rotors.

This allows it to fly better than any of the previously mentioned types.

What is more, is the fact that they can also carry a very heavy payload.

It can even fly through rain and strong winds and can stay in the air even if it loses motors.

With an octocopter, you have the best things from a quadcopter and hexacopter like flying speed, maneuverability, and uplift power which all combine to give you one powerful unit.

Thanks to their ability to record stable, high-quality footage from any altitude, these drones are used to shoot movies and motion picture pieces.

These units are larger than any of the other types and are far more expensive.

Basics of drone flight

The main advantage of having an even number of propellers is that their opposing rotation eliminates the torque which would otherwise make the vessel rotate around themselves.

Instead of ensuring control over complex surfaces can multi-copters adjust the speed of the propellers to ensure momentum against the pilot’s desired direction. 

By reading out the slope through the built gyroscopes (gyros 6-axis) and the direction of the compass, the computer can ensure that the proper amount of power is applied to each rotor.

Directional control

As long as it is a computer that controls the drone, there is no reason to have a front or back. 

But to ensure a more natural pilot control (often due to the location of the camera) most multi-copters have marked the front of the drone. 

DJI Phantom uses red highlight stripes and colored LED lights.

Hovering

You achieve stable hovering, by having the drone buoyancy directed straight down. Other things being equal the propellers must rotate at the same speed.

Rotation

A drone is rotatable around its axis, while it hovers, by increasing the speed of the motors in the appropriate direction. In other words, the user can turn control to the left or right.

Directional flight

This is achieved by pressing the drone forward.

To start the movement, the drone must lean in the same direction as you want it to fly, and keep this angle to ensure foreign directed momentum.

Despite what you might think from various troubling stories broadcast by the less rigorous part of the press, drones are pretty much flown the same way as model aircraft that have been used for years without problems. 

Everything you need to master is basic radio control

Pilot’s remote control

remote controller with drone technology

Some drones have specially designed remote controls, but most use standardized radio control, making use of a publicly available radio spectrum that draws up to 3.5 km. 

Remote controls (also called RC control units) consist of i.a. control sticks, switches, and levers that can be configured to remotely control aircraft, cars, and ships as well as drones.

Remote controls can vary in quality and functions, but some of the most basic things that a controller must consist of are:

Camera control

Some drones have motorized mounts.

 In these cases, there is a knob on the remote that enables you to be able to adjust the camera.

Mode button

This allows the pilot to select different automatic entered settings that come with the drone.

 For example, you can activate “GPS hovering” which ensures that the drone holds its position when you do not touch the control lever, etc.

Control sticks

These are used to control and fly the drone.

Generally, the left stick is used to gas up (take off), gas down (landing), rotate right, and rotate left. 

The right stick is used to move forward, move back, move to the right and move to the left.

Display

Some drones have a display on the remote control with various functions e.g. battery information.

Different drones for different jobs

There is no end to what the possibilities are with drones.

The industry is forever changing with newer and better applications every day.

So it is safe to say who knows what’s next on the agenda for a drone and its capabilities in the coming years.

We all will just have to wait and see.

However, we will discuss a few main areas where different drones perform different jobs.

Search and rescue drones

Drones are an unmatched piece of equipment in the search and rescue field.

They can enter environments that may not be ideal for humans.

One good example is when a drone is used in a fire to determine the level of gases present.

With the help of special measuring equipment, a drone can let firefighters know how much CO, CO2, and other gases are in the air.

This way they can determine if it is safe to enter and if there’s a possibility of survivors.

Security 

Many agencies use drones to protect people during various emergencies.

These can be used in almost any situation where they feel that a person is in danger.

For instance, if someone has to testify in court etc.

These drones can help carry out many security operations and preserve evidence should anything happen in the course of the operation.

Inspections

Humans no longer have to put their lives at risk to check power lines, wind turbines, rooftops, and other places that may be dangerous.

Drones can be used to monitor these from a distance and cut down the hassle and risk of having a human heading out into the field and doing so.

An excellent example is the use of thermal imaging to test power lines.

A drone with a thermal camera can inspect for damage along several miles of power lines in just a few hours.

Sending someone to do the same thing may take several weeks and also puts that person at risk.

While time and safety is also a factor, using a drone can be cheaper in the long run since sending humans to check the lines would require a crew and not just one person.

Surveillance

Drones can be used by police and other law enforcement or security agencies to monitor any events.

This can be protests, public events, or other suspicious activities happening in and around a specific area.

This is because these gadgets can record and cover a fairly large area with a flying camera.

Science and Research

Nature is unpredictable, and like with checking power lines, etc., certain situations may be extremely dangerous for humans.

In like manner, man-made experiments can also make certain situations dangerous for humans like nuclear testing, etc.

For this reason, drones are now being used in science and research.

Science and research drones are making big moves in helping to document archaeological excavations, measuring contamination in nuclear accidents, provide glacier surveillance, report volcanic activities, and others.

Aerial photography and video

This is possibly the one job that has made the commercial drone rise to stardom.

With the ability to fly, most drones come with a camera attached while others are made to be used with some of the best cameras on the market.

Combine flying and a powerful camera, you can capture remarkable footage from above.

Advanced drones are used in filmmaking and some can even live stream events as they are happening.

This freedom and awesome footage are what get almost everyone interested in getting their hands on a drone today.

Surveying and GIS(Mapping)

Some drones are capable of creating high-quality 3-D maps. 

They use multi-spectral cameras and laser scanners and work well in various applications.

These include remote sensing, surveying & mapping, photogrammetry, precision agriculture, and more

Unmanned cargo system

It goes with saying that online shopping is here and it’s never going to stop so how can we improve delivery time?

Drones are already being used to deliver small and lightweight packages.

Soon enough, Amazon promises that they should be able to deliver packages weighing 5 pounds in an area of a 10-mile radius or so in half of an hour or less.

The project is in its initial stages and yet to be out to the test.

We will just have to wait and see if this project kicks off or flops.

If it does kick-off, we’ll see faster delivery times and increased safety since we are seeing a rise in package thieves recently.

These are not all the jobs that drones are capable of doing but these are the ones we thought to mention.

Other uses include engineering, construction work, aviation, maritime, marketing, real estate, insurance, utilities, mining, meteorology, education, and more.

More and more companies, agencies, and others are finding uses for these gadgets as time goes on.

How to build a drone 

If you want the ultimate flexibility in terms of design, the only right choice is to build your drone.

 By selecting components and assembling them in airframes that you have picked yourself, you can create everything from a super-fast stunt drone to a stable platform that can lift heavy things.

To build your own multi-copter, it requires that you choose components that can work together, connect them correctly.

Then you perform several necessary software installations before flying it for the first time.

 It sounds simple, but there is some complexity associated with the process.

 It requires some processing to ensure that the components work together. The installation can often cause some mess with computer software, and you should be able to figure out how to solder.

The gain from the extra effort, however, is that you can create something, you can be proud of. 

Also, you don’t have to spend all your money at once. 

You can for example start by building a simple airframe, and when you can afford it, you can add a camera.

Later perhaps, you can add a sophisticated gimbal to stabilize the camera so that you can record video in high quality.

Other additions you can make later include the transmission of flight information to the ground or perhaps live video. You can also make changes to the remote control over time. 

Besides the advantage of the flexibility and the ability to spread the cost over time, self-building is a really fun way to acquire some practical knowledge.

It is also a fun way to learn and then pass them on to a family member.

What do I need to build a drone? 

When you get the chance to fly something that you have built yourself, you will learn a lot about electricity and also develop your soldering skills, which is even more satisfying.

 A lot of different companies have spent time and energy on kits that contain all the components needed for building various drones. 

With a simple order, you’ll get everything you need. 

You can receive a box filled with boxes and also often with different instructions from different providers. 

But you should be sure that the components work together and that the engines and propellers have sufficient buoyancy without burning off. 

There is even often a discount in terms of buying the component separately. 

Check out this video on building your own drone.

Professional Drones

Assembled drones, built for commercial use, is a relatively new phenomenon. 

There is some confusion about the rules, but there are already several models in the market, and the selection only gets larger and better. 

The most obvious use of drones is for video recording and photography. 

The drones that can record are fairly expensive.

 Filmmakers expect a budget of at least $5,000 a day for the traditional helicopter footage.

 A professional team of drone pilots with a high-quality camera can work for about 2,000 dollars or less a day. 

Compared to prosumer models, professional drones have to lift far heavier equipment as photo lenses of high-quality consist of heavy glass components.

For such tasks, stability is more important than maneuverability.

 Many professionals like to work with additional security in the form of six rotor drones (hexacopter) or more.

This makes it possible to carry out a relatively safe landing, even if some individual components have been broken.

Drones can be used to identify specific areas via GPS, which can be parts of a precise mapping of wide areas – from a construction place to a farm. 

Monitoring via the air is very useful in agriculture because it can help to inspect waste areas etc. 

Large UAVs as Microdrones MD4-3000 is intended for use by public authorities such as the police (to keep an eye on large gatherings), fire department (to identify where the fire is and to find people who are at risk)

Commercial companies, including energy companies that may have hundreds of kilometers of cable that require visual inspection, etc.

However, there are many different drones in the market, and as I previously mentioned it will only get larger as time passes. Below you can see some examples of professional drones:

Main Components for a drone

All the parts it takes to fly a drone up in the air, and back again.

Frame

In aviation terminology, the airframe represents the mechanical structure of the vessel, except for its propulsion and technical systems. 

For drones, the airframe is the structure that supports all the other components.

The most common type is the X-shape, which you often see in drones with four rotors (quadcopters) – but there are also other alternatives:

information about drones types

Batteries

Battery technology based on Lithium-ion polymer (LiPo) has made it possible to create many new types of drones. 

The batteries are compact, relatively lightweight, and able to contain a surprising amount of energy.

 However, they are not dangerous and must be treated with respect. 

You should know a bit about batteries before you start using them.

Motors

The drone engines must be extremely powerful as they must be able to perform about 8000 rpm and quickly change the speed. 

Since most drones consist of four rotors, there is no redundancy. 

The engines must be able to stay in the air, so they must be reliable. 

You also have to keep in mind that each motor contributes to the overall weight of the drone.

The accepted standard is that the engines must be able to be capable of carrying twice the total weight of the drone – including components and batteries. 

If the engines can only carry the copter itself, it will be enough to get it to soar, but you also need extra force to rise and maneuver without it all burning.

Electronic Speed Control (ESC) 

Understanding in detail how ESC works is not applicable when building a drone. 

However, it is important to select the appropriate ESC for the purpose. 

The unit reads the engine’s speed and ensures that the engines achieve the intended speed by adding the necessary power. 

Choosing the right engine is only part of the equation. 

You must also choose which propellers the engines should drive, so you know how much lift is being created. 

A propeller is sold in all kinds of materials, each of which affects its efficiency – the most important parameters are the size and angle.

Fly control

how do drones fly with four rotors

The Fly Control Unit simply represents the ‘brain’ of the multi-copter.

It is the central mid-point, wherein the information from the drone’s height and position sensors along with commands from the remote control are received and from which instructions are sent to the motors.

Remote control

Traditional radio control is the core of most ‘pilot drone’ interactions. 

Some drones use wireless devices – such as the Parrot drones – others use automatic flight. There are many options on the market.

Telemetry

Just as it is possible to receive video (either live or by recording it) from the drone. 

It is also possible to receive many other forms of data such as battery status, altitude, direction, etc. Generally, this kind of information is called telemetry. 

If you utilize telemetry, it can change the way you fly.

Landing equipment

Traditional aircraft pull their landing gear up to promote a more aerodynamic shape, as it provides rapid, more efficient, and softer flights.

 Helicopters don’t get the same advantage of this, so many landing gears are often relatively simple.

 However, retractable landing systems have become more popular with photographers.

Choosing the right drone type

So after all this knowledge about drones, are you ready to buy your first drone?

Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you choose the right drone.

Battery Life

Most drones will run out of power after a while and hardly can you find a model that recharges in 30 minutes or less.

You can always walk with a spare but make sure to include that in your overall cost before purchasing especially if you’re working with a budget.

Brushless motors

While brushless motors come at a higher price, they are quieter and last a reasonably long time when compared to brushed motors.

Camera

One of the main things most users look for in a drone is the camera quality.

Some models come with a built-in camera while others allow you to attach your own.

If you do go with a drone that has a built-in camera pay attention to the resolution of the videos and pictures you need.

Range

The range of a drone will be able to tell you how far away from you it can move before you lose control.

If you shoot for fun, then a short-range won’t be a problem, but if you need to cover a large area, then you will need a drone with a longer range.

Keep in mind that the Federal Aviation Administration has a list of rules and regulations that you need to follow.

One of the rules states that you should always have an eye on your drone to avoid it from damaging property, animals, or even people.

Advanced features

Advanced features in drones can help you perform a wide array of tricks.

For example, Headless Mode is great for beginners because pushing the controller in one direction moves the drone in that direction relative to you.

In other drones, the drone will move in the direction where the joystick is pointing.

Integrated GPS can help your unit find its way back home and improve navigational skills.

Follow-me Mode sees the drone following you and capturing photos and videos as you continue to perform your activity like kite surfing, mountain biking, etc.

Obstacle avoidance is another advanced feature that is becoming popular.

The units with this drone technology are expensive but it does save your drone from crashing into a tree or any other obstacle it encounters in the sky.

Final thoughts on drones and drone technology

Drones have been around for many years and have gained popularity only recently in the commercial market.

As these gadgets continue to develop, we will see them being used in different aspects and in areas we never thought possible. 

No one knows for sure what’s going to happen in the future but we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope for big things.

If you need to check out some drones on the market check out our best drones and best drones under 100 posts.

Drone

Features

Price

DJI Inspire 2.0 Quadcopter Combo, Includes Zenmuse X5S...
  • advanced obstacle sensing
  • record 4K and 5.2K video in low-compression
  • powerful tracking mode
YUNEEC YUNH920US Drone Tornado H920 Hexa-Copter with ST24...
  • retractable landing gear
  • can carry heavier cameras
  • carbon fiber frame
Autel Robotics EVO 2 Quadcopter UAV - EVO II Series Drone,...
  • 40 minute flight time
  • 8k camera
  • 9-km  and 360° collision avoidance

Leave a Comment