Drones with Cameras for Adults

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  • Author Anthony T. Craft
  • Published July 13, 2021
  • Word count 539

Drones with cameras for adults can perform air operations that manned aviation finds difficult or impossible, and they provide evident economic savings and environmental benefits whilst reducing the risk to human life. They already surpass manned aircraft in endurance, range, safety, and cost-efficiency, but next-generation devices will widen the gap still further, adding greater stealth, sensory, payload, range, autonomous, and communications capabilities. Drone sensor technology currently in development can map 2.7 million square miles in a single flight – nearly the area of the 48 contiguous US states.

With their growing capabilities, drones are being used in an ever-wider and more innovative range of applications, each with its own unique set of challenges. While some drones are versatile enough to fulfill many types of missions, most are more specialized and designed for a single purpose.

Drones are available in many types of geometries, which can be broadly classified under three headings: Fixed-wing, helicopter, and multirotor. The choice of geometry, and the best way of assembling and equipping it, depending on the application. Below are some factors to consider when choosing a drone solution, as described in an article by CMEC, who are designers and manufacturers of batteries for electric UAVs.

Multirotor drones are an easy and cheap way of getting a small camera into the air for a short time. They allow good control over position and framing, making them perfect for aerial photography work. However, they have limited endurance and speed, making them unsuitable for aerial mapping, long-endurance monitoring, and long-distance inspection as needed for pipelines, roads, and power lines.

Although their technology is continually improving, multirotor is fundamentally inefficient and energy-hungry, as they must constantly fight gravity just to stay aloft. Current battery technology limits electric drones to around 20 – 30 minutes’ flight time with a lightweight camera payload. Internal combustion (IC) engines are not suitable, as they cannot handle the fast and high-precision throttle changes essential for stability.

By contrast, fixed-wing drones, like aero planes, use their wings rather than vertical rotors for lift. Requiring energy only to move forward, they are far more fuel-efficient than multi-rotors. Additionally, these drones can use IC engines, so many can stay aloft for up to 16 hours. They can cover longer distances, map much larger areas, and loiter for extended periods monitoring their point of interest.

Fixed-wing drones also have downsides. Being unable to hover, they are unsuitable for aerial photography work. Launching and landing are more demanding, as they need a runway or catapult for take-off and a runway, parachute, or net to land safely. Only the smallest fixed-wing drones are suitable for hand launch and ‘belly landing’ in an open field. These types are also higher-cost and operating them is more difficult to learn.

A new alternative, called fixed-wing hybrid VTOL, merges the benefits of fixed-wing flight with an ability to take off and land vertically, and hover. These concepts were tried out with manned aircraft in the 50s and 60s but proved too complex and difficult to fly. However, they are now beginning to become feasible, with the arrival of modern autopilots, gyros, and accelerometers. The autopilot can maintain stability, leaving the human pilot the easier task of guiding them around the sky.

For more information, log on to: dronesforme.siterubix.com

Retired United States Army serving 28 years.

Retired Law Enforcement serving 25 years.

Ph.D. in General Psychology.

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