The word “drone” was first used to describe an aircraft which was unmanned and programmed with a flight plan, this aircraft would fly either in circles or a straight line, until the engine began to run low on fuel which is when it would land. “Drone” has been commonly used in recent years, with the term including any kind of unmanned robot, both remotely controlled or pre-programmed. This includes those designed for air, water and land use, with aerial drones being the most common of the three.

Different kinds of drone

Remote piloted aircraft, also known as RPA, are controlled remotely by either a sophisticated base station or a simple short-range remote control. They can be used for both military and commercial applications, and are often similar to a helicopter, and are available with one to eight sets of rotor blades, out of which the quad rotor (four sets of rotor blades) and the octo-rotor (eight sets of rotor blades) are the most common.

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), is pre-programmed to do a specific set of tasks before a flight along a specific flight path. UAVs are usually shaped like airplanes and are mostly only used in military situations, though there are some exceptions.

Not all UAVs and RPAs look like a basic airplane or helicopter, with some aerial drones designed as a mixture of both. The main difference between these two types of aerial drone is that a remote piloted aircraft is controlled by someone in real time, whereas an unmanned aerial vehicle isn’t.

Uses for a drone

These aerial drones have various uses, with the nature of each application being similar, whether it’s commercial or military. There will no doubt be an expansion on the possible uses of drones as technology inevitably improves over time, but with the technology of today there are still a number of uses, such as;

  • Attack drones, which are used solely by the military, they are equipped with lethal weaponry for controlled air strikes in inaccessible or hostile areas.
  • Videography or photography drones, which are quickly growing in popularity in the world of art. Before these drones came about, aerial videos and photographs had to be taken from a helicopter or airplane, which is an expensive method. With the drones becoming available, videographers and photographers can now take the same shots on a much lower budget.
  • Crowd control drones, which, unlike the attack drones, are equipped with non lethal weaponry, such as tear gas and sound cannons. These drones are used to break apart large, out of control crowds of people without causing considerable physical harm. They are typically used by law enforcement and the military.
  • Monitoring drones, which are equipped with both sensitive weather instruments, as well as a standard infrared camera. They are commonly used to monitor various different areas.
  • Delivery drones, which were originally developed for use by the military, to deliver goods to ground troops. This type of drone can remotely drop or place items in a target area, and is equipped with a claw or another similar delivery system to do this.

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