What are drones? Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the flying robots, also known as quadcopters that have been in the news and making a stir. The Federal Aviation Administration refers to them as “unmanned aerial systems,” while they’re more frequently called “unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)” or drones.


Defined as “an aircraft without a human pilot” that is flown via remote control by the operator or autonomously by onboard computer. UAV’s were originally used for military purposes for missions that were deemed to dangerous for humans. However, they now provide a wide range of commercial and personal uses.


UAV’s were originally created for military personnel target practice in the mid 1900s. Drones expanded during the first World War when computer were introduced. The U.S. Air Force began using quadcopters in 1959 following concern for pilots flying over hostile territory. By 1973 the U.S. military officially confirmed drone use in Vietnam, and as of 2012 the Air Force had utilized 7,494 UAVs to date in combate. In 2013 it was reported that drones were being used in at least 50 countries, including Iran and China in addition to the U.S.

How They Work


Drones are typically made with lightweight composite materials so they may fly through the air easily and at higher altitudes. Drones come in a range of sizes, generally feature seven essential components. These include the propellers, remote control, motors, sensors, main controller, receiver, and electronic speed controllers. Each part of the drone is custom made for weather it is for military or personal use.

The main controller is the quadcopter’s “brain,” with the sensors working to track it while in flight. Most drones have some sort of GPS system as its “brain.” Motors are designed with electronic speed controllers, which regulates the amount of power going to the motor. Most drones have 4 or more motors to help lift the drone. Each motor is responsible for a 4th of the drones weight and it required to create more trust incase the drone is carrying a load. The receiver is used in conjunction with the radio control system, while the propellers unsurprisingly are a huge component in keeping the quadcopter in the air.


Today’s drones are equipped with GPS systems, first person view, cameras, and gimbals for holding the cameras among other features. Many of the most popular drones on the market, such as the DJI Phantom 3, come with their own apps.

For more on drones and drone accessories, please contact DroneFly today.

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