What makes a drone a drone? What are the components that you need to build your own? We chat with 3D Robotics about their Iris Drone and the individual pieces that let it autonomously fly around without direct control from a RC transmitter.
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone and referred to as a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. Its flight is controlled either autonomously by onboard computers or by the remote control of a pilot on the ground or in another vehicle. The typical launch and recovery method of an unmanned aircraft is by the function of an automatic system or an external operator on the ground. Historically, UAVs were simple remotely piloted aircraft, but autonomous control is increasingly being employed.
Beyond the military applications of UAVs with which “drones” became most associated, numerous civil aviation uses have been developed, including aerial surveying of crops, acrobatic aerial footage in filmmaking, search and rescue operations, inspecting power lines and pipelines, and counting wildlife, delivering medical supplies to remote or otherwise inaccessible regions, with some manufacturers re-branding the technology as “unmanned aerial systems” (UASs) in preference over “drones.”
Drones have also been used by animal-rights advocates to determine if illegal hunting is taking place, even on private property. Drones equipped with video cameras are being used by the League Against Cruel Sports, a British animal-rights group, to spot instances of illegal fox hunting.UAVs are nowadays routinely used in several applications where human interaction is difficult or dangerous. These applications range from military to civilian and include reconnaissance operations, border patrol missions, forest fire detection, surveillance, and search/rescue missions.