In the current world scenario, we used to hear the word drones in every corner. The utilization of drones in various industries is favourably increasing. For example, Agriculture, Cinema, Tourism, Defence, etc., In future, it’s believed that this technology is going to be a game-changer in many fields.
What is a Drone?
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot on board. The flight of drone is either controlled autonomously by computers in the vehicle or remotely controlled by a pilot on the ground.
Image Credits: Technology illustrations by Storyset
Classification of UAV
The UAVs/drones are classified into three types based on the configuration, as listed below
Most of the times we used to refer the Rotary-Wing UAVs as drones, but technically the above all types are drones.
The fixed-wing UAVs are the air vehicles which looks similar to the aircraft but operated without an onboard pilot, mostly designed to perform specific missions such as reconnaissance, surveillance, pesticides spraying, etc.,
Fixed-wing UAVs preferably used for long-range and long endurance missions.
Image Credits: Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt / Public Domain
The above image represents General Atomics MQ-1 Predator which is an American Fixed-wing UAV built by General Atomics, used primarily by the United States Air Force (USAF) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The rotary-wing UAV or Rotorcraft is entirely different from the above the structure. The rotating wing, fixed in the frame of the vehicle is responsible for the lift generation. Rotary-wing UAVs preferably used for medium-range missions.
The rotary-wing UAV, further classified into two types:
The single-rotor UAVs, have an additional vertical rotor for adjusting the heading of the vehicle. The thrust produced in the main rotor is responsible for the generation of the lift. The prime example of the aforementioned category is Single-Rotor Helicopter.
Image Credits: Austin, Reg. Unmanned Air Systems: UAV Design, Development and Deployment. 1st ed., Wiley, 20101
But when it comes to controlling the Single-Rotor Helicopter, it’s quite complex. It has its own advantages even though having complexity as compared to multirotor UAVs.
Nowadays, most of the UAVs referred to as drones are under this category. Some of the example configurations under this category are quadrotor, multirotor, octocopter, etc.,
The above image represents one of the successful commercial drones, DJI Mavic Pro which is most widely used in various fields such as tourism, cinema, etc.,
The hybrid UAV / hybrid-wing UAV is the combination of the above two categories (Rotary-Wing UAV & Fixed-Wing UAV). This type of UAVs can able to perform both Vertical and Horizontal Takeoff & Landings.
The above image represents the hybrid-wing UAV which can able to perform Vertical Take-off and Horizontal Transition (VTHT). In recent days, Hybrid UAVs are used for Lang Range and Long Endurance missions.
I’ve tried to explain about the drones and their classification with the acquired information from various sources. I’m expectantly waiting for your valuable feedback and suggestions regarding this topic.
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