A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle, controlled remotely or can fly automatically with software-controlled flight plans embedded in its system. Drones are of various types, sizes and applications . There are 4 types of drones as per their design and purpose.
- Multi-Rotor Drones
- Fixed-Wing Drones
- Single-Rotor Drones
- Fixed-Wing Hybrid VTOL
1. Multi-Rotor Drones
Multi-rotor drones are the easiest and cheapest type of drone. These drones offer great control over position and framing, and hence they are perfect for aerial cinematography and surveillance. They are called multi-rotor because they have more than one motor [tricopters (3 rotors), quadcopters (4 rotors), hexacopters (6 rotors) and octocopters (8 rotors)]. By far, quadcopters are the most popular multi-rotor drones.
Advantages: Accessibility, better aerial control, good camera control, extremely stable; ability to fly closer to structures and buildings
Disadvantages: Fundamentally very inefficient, requires a lot of energy, only 20-30 mins of flight time
Applications: Visual inspections, Photography & Videography, 3D scans
2. Fixed-Wing Drones
A fixed-wing drone has one rigid wing that is designed to provide when moving forward, like an aeroplane, rather than vertical lift rotors.
Advantages: Long flight time for 16 hours or more, large area coverage, fast flight speed and can fly at a high altitude.
Disadvantages: Launch and recovery needs a lot of space, Harder to fly require training, expensive
Applications: Aerial Mapping, Drone Surveying & inspection and for security purposes.
3. Single-Rotor Drones
Single-rotor drones are strong and durable. They resemble actual helicopters in structure and design. The single-rotor is used for stability, and a tail rotor is there to control direction.
Advantages: Much greater efficiency, Heavier carrying capacity, strong and durable
Disadvantages: Hard to simulate, Expensive, requires a lot of maintenance and not stable like other drones
Applications: Aerial LIDAR scan, surveying and carrying heavy loads
4.Fixed-Wing Hybrid VTOL
Hybrid VTOL drones have a combined fixed-wing and rotor-based designs. These drones have rotors attached to the fixed wings, allowing it to hover, take off and land vertically. Currently, these drones are still under development and only a handful of stable models are available in the market.
Advantages: The autopilot can do all the work including keeping the drone stable.
Disadvantages: Only a handful are in the market and still in development
Applications: Drone Delivery
Some other Drones as per purpose
Here are some drones that are specifically used for a particular purpose:
These drone types are commonly recreated by students, they cannot do commercial work that other drones are capable of. Small drones are lightweight and less stable for any aerial photography.
Even though these are small drones, they can be used for aerial photography. These drones have a range of 1.6kms and can fly for around 30 minutes.
These drones are large in size but lightweight. They are quite advanced and have features like GPA and infrared camera. Tactical drones are mainly used for surveillance work and visual inspection.
These drones measure extremely tall and bulky, and can hover for 52 hours at a height of 35,000 feet. They can be launched from the ground and are known as HALE and MALE.
Photography drones are fitted with professional-grade 4K cameras that can take high-resolution pictures. These drones make use of automated flight mode and precision stability to take pictures covering vast spaces. Today, photography drones are used for various occasions, events and surveys.
There are a lot of innovations and developments being done in the drone industry. If you’re someone who’s interested in building drones, and want to learn how, check out our drone building course here.
If you want to learn how to build products, right from conceptualising a problem statement to building your own product, check out our product development course here.