UAV technology what's it all about?

UAVs are no longer the niche inventions they once were, and in the last few years these aerial vehicles have become commonly seen in everyday life and in many industrial applications. Drones have reached an affordable price and the machinery has become more reliable, with many more people using the unmanned aircraft as a result. This soaring use of drones has only been made possible by advances in technology.

UAVs can be controlled remotely or can fly pre-programmed through software controlled flight plans in embedded systems working with GPS navigation. Using sensors on board the aircraft, it calculates how to keep the vehicle airborne and on a steady flight path. This shows one of the most important developments in technology for drones– namely code.

Computer Code
UAVs simply could not fly without the complex software that is pre-installed. This controls flight, power and navigation. Software allows for some automation in the drone, which makes flights more stable and allows even novice pilots to fly them. Without the right software drones would be unable to achieve the incredible results that they are currently capable of.

Flight Controller
Code cannot exist on its own and has to run on some form of computer. in UAVs this is called a flight controller. It’s the central brain that makes every other component work. These controllers are small and light enough to fly but clever enough to handle inputs from a number of sensors and accelerometers. Using this information, this compact computer keeps the flight smooth and steady.

Battery technology has advanced rapidly which has allowed mobile phones, laptops, and most importantly drones to become easily transportable and a part of everyday life. Only with the development of these lightweight and powerful batteries has mass adoption of drone technology become possible.

Electric motors have been around for a long time but they have only recently become light enough to have multiple motors running and still lift the UAV it is supporting off the ground. The development of ‘Brushless’ motors has enabled this, making the technology much smaller, lighter, and reliable enough to be adopted by drones. This new breed of motor can spin at more than 20,000 RPM. However, getting the power to weight ratio right is the most important area of development in drone technology.

Propellers are as old as flight itself, and the propellers on a drone work much the same to those on the Wright brother’s first plane. Multiple propellers run in different directions in order to counter the ‘torque-reaction’. Without them drones wouldn’t even get off the ground. These are again controlled by the flight controller previously mentioned.

Drones are incredibly complex machines that rely on technology to take flight. Without these developments there would not be drones today.

Do you understand the technological developments behind drones? Where do you think they could go next? Share your thoughts on our social media pages.