There are no formal definitions, and if there is one thing we gear heads are known for, it’s endless semantic debates over correct jargon usage. In terms of camera-equipped UAVs and those capable of carrying cameras, we can roughly break classes down as follows:
A personal drone, also known as a hobby or consumer drone, is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for the mass market. Personal drones have in the past most often been used for still and video photography
Potential applications for personal drones include home security, child monitoring and the creation of virtual tours, among a great number of other possibilities.
“Prosumer,” somewhat nebulously, covers the lower end of aircraft, mostly quadcopter and a handful of hexa-rotors, which are designed specifically with video and photo in mind.
A common implementation is to combine a GoPro HERO or similar action camera with a 2- or 3-axis gimbal for stability.
Professional UAVs will include most hexa-rotors and virtually all octo-rotors and up. These are designed specifically to carry payloads, such as cameras.
Considered high-end and equipped with the latest technology, Professional Drones offer longer flight times and advanced features. A purchase that can give you the ability to capture high quality aerial video and still photos, making it a great addition to your filming.
All of these Professional drones are GPS stabilized, which means control is easy and doesn’t require any special skill.
Most have special APPs you can customize and program, features like Follow Me mode (drone will trail after the user) and Way-point Navigation for setting multi-point routes.
Most importantly, They provide longer battery life, larger range and safety features.
What can you do with a drone?
1. Take photos and make videos
Cameras on drones are designed to take videos and pictures. Photography drones these days are typically designed with 4K-quality cameras. These cameras are usually stabilized on a gimbal and can be moved and controlled to get the right shot in the direction you want.
Some are designed with guards around their lenses. The guards help to keep the lenses from being at risk of damages from weather conditions in an area or any debris that might fly around.
The controller used for such a drone will often come with a button. This button can be pressed to allow the camera to take pictures or start filming.
A smartphone or tablet can be set up to link up to a drone through a Wi-Fi connection though so you can get a quick look at what is on its camera.
Some drones are designed to transport materials. A delivery drone will work with an anchor or basket-like feature on the bottom part.
The weight that a drone can handle depends on the model.
Amazon has already taken advantage of this opportunity by using drones to deliver items in some parts of the country.
3. Racing and Freestyle FPV flying
A racing drone is designed to be used for racing purposes in mind, hence the name. Such a drone can travel about 40 to 60 miles per hour in some of the best cases.
Racing drones can work quicker with controllers that require their own unique radio connections. These can be used with a variety of frequencies to ensure that the connection between a drone and its controller will not interfere with any other signals.
This is important for cases where two or more drones are being flown at the same time during a race. These drones are designed with slim bodies and will not be impacted by wind conditions.
4. Oil, gas, and mineral exploration
With the help of specific electromagnetic sensors, drones can be used to gather geological information to help geophysicists identify and better approximate the location and presence of minerals, oil, and natural gas.
Intel attached LEDs to 1200 quadrotor drones for a flying light show during the opening ceremonies of the PyeongChang winter Olympics.
The drones were programmed to fly in various formations to show a snowboarder riding around the stadium.
Smaller drone light shows with approximately 300 drones have been scheduled to fly during the medal ceremonies throughout the Olympic games.
High-tech drones allow farmers, and the drone pilots that operate them, to increase efficiency in certain aspects of the farming process. From crop monitoring to planting, livestock management, crop spraying, irrigation mapping, and more.
Currently, there are six common uses of agricultural drones, which we profile below:
- Soil and Field Analysis
At the beginning, middle, and end of a crop cycle drones can be used to help obtain useful data surrounding the quality of the existing soil.
By obtaining 3D maps of existing soil, you’ll be able to see if there are any issues surrounding soil quality, nutrient management, or soil dead zones.
This information can help farmers determine the most effective patterns for planting, managing crops, soil, and more.
Ongoing monitoring can help to better utilize water resources, and more effectively manage crop nutrient levels.
- Seed Planting
Drone planting is a relatively newer technology and not as widely used, but some companies are experimenting with drone planting.
Essentially, manufacturers are experimenting with custom systems that have the ability to shoot seed pods into prepared soil.
For example, the company DroneSeed is using unmanned aircraft capable of delivering up to 57 pounds of payload in the form of tree seeds, herbicides, fertilizer and water per aircraft per flight to assist reforestation and replanting projects.
This technology helps to minimize the need for on-the-ground planting, which can be costly, time-intensive, and strenuous work.
- Crop Spraying and Spot Spraying
Crops require consistent fertilization and spraying in order to maintain high yields.
With approval from the FAA, Drones can be equipped with large reservoirs, which can be filled with fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. Using drones for crop spraying is much safer and cost-effective. Drones can even be operated completely autonomously and programmed to run on specific schedules and routes.
For example, if there’s a fungus breakout in a certain section of the crops, drones can be used to spot treat the issue. With the speed at which drones can operate, you can diagnose and treat potential crop issues before they become a widespread issue across the entire farm.
With spot spraying afforded by drones, this same task can be accomplished in less time, with fewer monetary resources, and a reduced environmental cost.
- Real-Time Livestock Monitoring
Some drones are equipped with thermal imaging cameras that enable a single pilot to manage and monitor livestock.
This allows farmers to keep track of livestock a much greater frequency, and with less time and staff investment.
The drone operator can quickly check in on herd to see if there are any injured or missing livestock, as well as see livestock who are giving birth.