Drones are increasingly becoming popular as individuals and companies utilize them for a wide range of purposes. Whether for commercial or personal purposes, drones have proven to be impeccable devices for capturing aerial videos and images. In addition, retailers are currently using drones to deliver products to their customers.
The technical features and design of drone heavily depend on its intended purpose. However, before purchasing a drone, you need to know the types of drones that are currently available in the market so that you can select one that suits your needs.
Common Types of Drones
Drones are classified according to the number of rotors they use for gliding, size, and range.
1. The Number of Rotors
A helicopter drone resembles a small, remotely controlled helicopter. It utilizes a single rotor to glide and a small rotor at the tail to control the direction. If you need a drone just for hovering purposes accompanied by faster flight time, a helicopter drone is the best choice for you.
Tricopters incorporate three rotors necessary for flying. In addition, the rotor configuration consists of two opposite rotors and one rotor at the back or front of the rotor’s hub. The small number of motors and parts translates to a few mechanical failures and consequently, higher reliability. However, tricopters lack protective shells, and are, therefore, susceptible to damage, especially when they crash.
Quadcopters use four rotors for propulsion. Unlike helicopter and tricopter drones whose shapes resemble typical helicopters, quadcopters come in their own design and shape. They have higher payload capabilities and can move in any directions. Moreover, they are readily available in the market, unlike tricopters. Quadcopters have better chances of surviving a crash.
As the prefix “Hexa” suggests, hexacopters use six rotors attached at the ends of the extended arms. The higher number of rotors means huge capabilities. However, you will need ample skills to effectively control a hexacopter. In addition, a hexacopter has higher power and stability. Surprisingly, the drone can safely land after a failure of one of the rotor motors.
By incorporating eight rotors, octocopters are the most powerful drones and are capable of carrying the heaviest payloads. Besides, they are the most expensive drones, but their high efficiency and capabilities justify the price. Another key advantage is that the failure of one rotor motor does not affect the flying capabilities of the octocopter. The drone is the most suitable choice to purchase if you are an experienced UAV pilot or a professional photographer.
Drones differ in sizes. Here is how drones are classified in regards to their sizes.
a. Small Drones
The size of small drones ranges between 50 cm and 2m. They are most suitable for newbie flight training rather than for commercial purposes. You can effortlessly maneuver the smallest ones in limited spaces. Additionally, small drones are excellent for indoor flying and you can easily lose them in crowded or busy places. However, you should avoid flying a small drone in windy conditions.
b. Medium Drones
They are larger than the small drones. A medium drone can weigh up to 200kgs and will require two people to support them when being launched into the air. They have more power and larger propellers than small drones. Moreover, they come with small cameras to capture aerial videos and images.
c. Large Drones
Large drones are mainly used for commercial and military purposes. Using large rotors and powerful motors, large drones are impeccable for autonomous surveillance. Large drones can only be controlled by professionals due to their complicated build and control features. In addition, they have the highest payload capabilities.
The range refers to how far a drone can fly from the user. The various options from which you can choose drones of varying ranges include;
a. Close-Range Drones
The drones are capable of flying up to 50km and are powered by batteries that can last for 1 to 6 hours. The duration and distance make them suitable for military surveillance missions.
b. Short-Range Drones
Short-range drones are a bit superior when compared to the close range drones. In fact, you can control the drone while at 150km away. In addition, the battery pack can keep the drone flying for a time range of 8 to 12 hours. Short range drones are mainly used in spy missions.
c. Mid-Range Drones
Mid-range drones have higher speeds and power. You can control the drone within a range of 650km. The core applications of mid-range drones are surveillance and meteorological data collection mission.
The significance of drones is unsurpassed. They have made it easier to access remote areas, capture aerial pictures, and videos of a place or event, deliver products and not forgetting their countless applications in the military. The drones fall under several categories depending on their rotors number, range, and size as outlined above.