There is no doubt that drones might be placed among the ‘hottest’ technological innovations ever made, isn’t there?
Probably each of you is lucky enough to spot some of those strangers flying high above your head each day.
Most of well researched enthusiasts and ordinary drones’ users are aware that there exist different types of drones that might come in many shapes as well as sizes and serve various purposes. However, sometimes the lines between families of drones might cross and the questions may arise. That’s why today we suggest you getting deeper into this exciting world of ‘metal insects’ in order to make all the obscurities disappear!
Currently all the UAVs are split into 3 major categories: fixed-wing, rotary-wing and multi-rotor UAVs. Consequently, as you may have already guessed, each of these classes can be further broken down too, for example multi-rotor drones might fall into such categories as quadcopters, octocopters, etc.
To begin with, it is interesting to note that namely first unmanned aerial vehicles were fixed-wing and started operating at the beginning of XX century! That is why those drones are so similar in their design to modern airplanes. It is truly incredible! Can you imagine that the ancestors of today’s drone phenomenon can be also considered to be the beginners of the whole aviation industry!
Nevertheless, if we turn back to the fixed-wing UAVs it is useful to know that those units consist of a rigid wing placed across the top of the body and they continuously move forward thanks to the turn of a propeller. What concerns a propeller; it might be turned by an electric motor or internal combustion engine.
This drones’ type is a very convenient and useful due to many reasons. First of all, it is greatly valued for its simple structure which results in minimal risks of mechanical failures. Additionally, its simple design and efficient aerodynamics allow extending flight duration at higher speeds what automatically enables coverage of larger areas. Moreover, those drones provide an opportunity to use better as well as bigger sensors and cameras because of its ability to carry bigger and heavier payload. Lastly, these ‘insects’ feel the least influence of environmental conditions.
According to the results of the research rotary-wing drones’ category is the smallest of all mentioned. Those are machines that have an ability to remain airborne through a single propeller which is placed at the top of the drone and is the only moving part out of the whole construction.
Rotary-wing drones might be divided into two groups: singlecopters and coaxcopters. However, coaxial features are commonly used among multi-rotor UAVs’ too.
What concerns the singlecopter, it is an aerial vehicle with only one central rotating propeller.
Coaxcopters are aerial vehicles with two counter rotating central propellers. Thus, this type of drones is trickier and might cause more confusion since it tends to appear not only as one rotor machine but also in numerous configurations of multi-rotor drones as long as it undoubtedly brings more stability and flight time.
On the whole, rotary-wing drones are very different from fixed ones not only due to the principle of their work. The main distinction between them is that rotary-wing UAVs can hold their position in the air and stop from flipping over. Unfortunately, some drawbacks are not missing as rotary-wing units are the most convenient tool for indoor use because they have a limited forward speed and higher sensitivity to wind.
Most likely this category is the largest one. In our modern world technology has reached a point of sophistication that plenty of astonishing civilian uses of drones have already emerged and mainly multi-rotor drones are employed in commercial sector. Let’s see what types of multicopters we might encounter in our daily lives!
Basically in this case, the number of motors acts as a marker of a drone type. Why don’t we get acquainted with some of them? Here they are:
The BiCopter is a two motors multicopter.
The TriCopter has three motors in a „Y“ or a „T“ shape.
The most frequently used type of multi-rotors among civilian surely is a QuadCopter. Most commonly it possesses 4 motors placed in a symmetric frame. Although, sometimes we can spot so-called Y4 drones that look like tricopters but operate by the mean of 4 motors. What is more, there is one additional subdivision of quadcopters known as VTail.
The HexaCopter is comprised of 6 motors and most usually those motors are placed in a symmetric frame. But this is not the only one configuration; hexacopters might be in a “Y” shape frame called Y6.
The largest multi-rotors are considered to be OctoCopters! Those powerful giants have 8 motors that might be distributed symmetrically as well as in an “X” shaped frame. The last type is simply known as X8.
No one can state which type of multi-rotors is the best. Each has its own features and unique characteristics that differentiate it from the rest and allows being applied in various spheres. Of course the capabilities of multicopters are advancing amazingly fast what might lead to the appearance of more and more creative configurations of multi-rotor drones in the future!