Types of drones and how drones work, a complete case study on drones.

In 2023 drones are getting popular day by day. Choosing the right type of drones becomes difficult. So, in this blog, we will discuss drones.

drone images techyleaf

Topic cover
in this blog:
  • what is drone technology?
  • Different types
    of drones and their classification.
  • Advantages and
    disadvantages of drones.
  • Uses of
    different types of drones.
  • How do drones
  • Different technologies
    used in the drone.

What is
drone technology?

A drone is
an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can be made to fly automatically by a
dedicated remote unit. It can perform a certain operation in the air as programed
by a computer.

The origin
of drones assigns to the need of government and military but with the
advancement of technology, drones were later designed to use in different
commercial projects. 

It is now used in different fields such as finding missing
people, wildlife conservation, weather forecasting, traffic monitoring, firefighting,
agriculture, creating 3D models, photography, video making, academy projects

The 3 Main
Categories of Drones and Their Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Fixed-wing
  • Single Rotor
  • Multirotor


A fixed-wing drone consists of one fixed-wing and is designed in such a way that it looks
and works like an airplane. What helps differentiate fixed-wing drones from other types of drones is that they cannot stay in one place with a vertical lift rotor, but instead glide on a set path as long as their energy permits. This
means they will be much more efficient compared to the 2 other main categories
of drones.


drones (UAVs) are well known in the military, as they are frequently used when the manned flight is considered too risky or difficult. They are also used in the
commercial industry.


  • The average
    flight time is of a few hours and can go up to an impressive 16 hours or
    more if the drone is gas engine powered.
  • Fixed wings
    can fly at a high altitude.
  • They are
    more forgiving within the air than other models.
  • And have the power to carry more weight.


  • Fixed-wing
    drones are expensive.
  • Proper Training is usually required to fly
  • Most of the
    cases, a launcher is needed to get a fixed-wing drone into the air.
  • They are harder to land than the two other categories of drones.
  • And they can
    only move forward and can’t hover in the air.

drones are more data-focused in design and they are usually used for commercial
purposes such as aerial mapping, inspection, agriculture, construction,
security, and surveillance.

Single Rotor

Single rotor
drones are generally strong and look similar in structure and design to an actual
helicopter. They have one big rotor, which is like one big spinning wing, plus
a small-sized rotor on the tail for direction and stability.

Single rotor drones
source: pro-drone

  • Single rotor
    drones are ready to hover vertically within the air.
  • They are
    built to be strong and durable.
  • They have a
    long-lasting flight time, which increases if the drone is gas-powered
  • And a heavy
    payload capability.


  • Single
    rotors are harder to fly than multi-rotor drone types.
  • They can be
  • These drones
    have a higher complexity.
  • And can be
    dangerous due to the heavy spinning blade

 This type of drone uses in Research, Aerial
LIDAR laser scan, surveying, etc.


The most popular type of drone for getting the best footage is the multi-rotor drone. This
is the popular choice for aerial photography, movie making and
surveillance. It is used by professionals because of its small size and ready
to fly out of the box capabilities.

multi rotor drone techyleaf

drones also are the easiest to manufacture and the cheapest drone option. They
carry several rotors on their body and maybe further classified based on the
number of them on the platform of the drone. There are tricopters (3 rotors),
quadcopters (4 rotors), hexacopters (6 rotors), and octocopters (8 rotors),
among others. Quadcopters are by far the most popular multi-rotor drones.


  • Multi-rotor
    drones are easy to control.
  • They have
    the ability to hover.
  • They can take off and land vertically
  • And are very


  • Multi-rotors
    have limited flying time. (usually 30-60 minutes)
  • They only
    have small payload capabilities.
  • And most of
    the drone’s energy is spent on fighting gravity and stabilizing in the air.

 This type of drone uses in Aerial photography
and video surveillance, agriculture, construction, security, etc.

You can
further, categorize within the three main categories of drones:


  • Nano: size
    of an insect (up to 50 cm)
  • Small:
    bigger than the size of an insect but still quite small (less than 2 meters in
    length). This is the size of most consumer drones. These drones can be handled
    by one person.
  • Medium:
    Smaller than light aircraft and usually need to be carried by two people.
  • Large: size
    of a small aircraft, generally used in military or surveillance situations.

By Range:

  • Close-range:
    Most close-range drones usually have a variety of around 3 miles and can stay in
    the air an average of 20-30 minutes. Consumer drones fit into this category.
  • Short-range:
    Most short-range drones are often controlled up to 30 miles far away from users and
    can stay in the air for an average of 1 hour and up to six hours.
  • Mid-range:
    Most mid-range drones can be controlled up to 90 miles away and can stay in the
    air for up to twelve hours.

By Endurance:

endurance drones can be controlled up to 400 miles and be up in the air for up
to three consecutive days. These are typically used for surveillance and collection
of scientific data.

How Drones

A typical
unmanned aircraft is made of light composite materials to reduce weight and
increase stability. This material strength allows military drones to
cruise at extremely high altitudes.
UAV drones
are equipped with different types of technology such as infrared cameras, GPS, and laser (consumer, commercial, and military UAV). Drones are controlled by
remote ground control systems (GSC) and are also referred to as a ground cockpit.
An unmanned aerial vehicle system has two parts, the drone itself and the control system.

Automatic Quadcopter Control Avoiding Obstacle Using Camera with Integrated Ultrasonic Sensor - Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Flowchart-of-drone-work-process_fig2_325039849 [accessed 24 Apr, 2020]

The nose of
the unmanned aerial vehicle is where all the sensors and navigational systems
are present. The rest of the body is filled with drone technology systems since
there is no space required to accommodate humans.
The engineering
materials used to build the drone are highly complex designed to absorb
vibration, which decreases the sound produced. These materials are very lightweight.

You can read also

Different type
of technology use in drones:

VTOL Drones
(vertical Take-off and Landing)

These are
unmanned aircraft and have the power to take off, fly, hover and land
vertically. The exact meaning of VTOL is “Vertical Take-Off and Landing”. A typical
VTOL UAV may be based around a helicopter design that consists of four or more
A few of the
latest small UAV drones like the DJI Mavic Air and DJI Spark take VTOL
to the next level and can be launched from the palm of your hand.

Positioning & Return Home

The latest
drones have dual Global Navigational Satellite Systems (GNSS) like GPS and

Drones can
fly in both GNSS and non-satellite modes.  For instance, DJI drones can fly
in P-Mode (GPS & GLONASS) or ATTI mode, which doesn’t use GPS.
accurate drone navigation is extremely important when flying, especially in drone
applications such as creating 3D maps, surveying landscape and SAR (Search
& Rescue) missions.

When the quadcopter is first switched on, it searches and detects GNSS satellites. High-end GNSS systems use Satellite Constellation technology. Basically,
a satellite constellation may be a group of satellites working
together giving coordinated coverage and are synchronized, in order that they overlap
well in coverage. Pass or coverage is that the period during which a satellite is
visible above the local horizon.

Detection and Collision Avoidance Technology

The latest
high-tech drones are now equipped with collision avoidance systems. These use
obstacle detection sensors to scan the surroundings, while software algorithms
and SLAM technology produce the picture into 3D maps allowing the drone to sense
and avoid.  These systems fuse one or more of the following sensors to sense
and avoid.

Stabilization, IMU, And Flight Controllers

stabilization technology gives the UAV drone its smooth flight capabilities.
gyroscope works almost instantly to the forces moving against the drone,
keeping it flying very smoothly.  The gyroscope provides essential
navigational information to the central flight controller.
The inertial
measurement unit (IMU) works by detecting the current rate of acceleration
using one or more accelerometers. The IMU detects changes in the rotational property
like pitch, roll, and deviates erratically from a set course using one or
more gyroscopes.  Some IMU includes a magnetometer to assist
with calibration against orientation drift.

UAV Drone
Motor Direction and Propeller Design

These are
the drone technology, which moves the UAV into the air and to fly in any
direction. On a quadcopter, the motors and propellers work in pairs with 2
  • propellers rotating clockwise (CW Propellers)
  • motors
    rotating Counter Clockwise (CCW Propellers)

They receive
data from the flight controller and therefore the
electronic speed controllers (ESC) on
the drone motor direction to either fly or hover. Onscreen Real-Time Flight
Nearly all
drones have a Ground Station Controller (GSC) or a smartphone app, allowing you
to fly the drone and to keep track of the current flight telemetry (UAV range,
height, speed, GNSS strength). Many UAV drone ground controllers use FPV (First
Person View), which transmit the video from the drone to the controller or
mobile device.

FPV Over 4G
/ LTE Networks

In 2016, a
new live video, which transmits over the 4G / LTE network, providing an
unlimited range and low latency video were announced. This drone technology was
released on the Sky Drone FPV 2 and comprises of a camera module, a data
module and a 4G / LTE modem, Firmware, and Flight Assistant Port.

The flight system communicates with a PC Assistant through a micro-USB cable. This
allows the configuration of the UAV and to upgrade the drone firmware.
A very simple description of a UAV drone is that it is a flying computer with a camera
or sensor attached. Like computers, drones have firmware software, which sends
commands to the physical components in the aircraft or remote controller.

manufacturers release firmware upgrades to fix bugs and add new features to the
aircraft, remote unit, or software if it is used to fly the drone.

UAV Remote
Control System

On the DJI
Phantom 3, the wireless communication device uses the 5.8 GHz, frequency band. Remote control systems are also known as ground control. The
drone and the ground control should already be paired when it leaves the
Almost, all
the newest drones can use 2.4 or 5.8 GHz operating frequencies. 

Range Extender
UAV Technology

Range extender UAV technology is a
wireless communication device that generally operates near about 2.4 GHz
frequency. It is used to extend the range between the smartphone and the drone in an open space area.
It has a transmission
distance of up to 700 meters. Each range extender has a unique MAC address and
network name (SSID).
The latest
DJI drones out of the box can fly with a range of up to 5 miles (8 km).

App Featuring Ground Station Function

Most of the
UAV drones today can be flown by a remote controller or from a smartphone app,
which can be downloaded from Google Play or the Apple Store. The app allows for
full control of the drone.

Each manufacturer will have its own app like the Go 4 app from DJI.
However, the
latest 4k video drones such as DJI Mavic series, DJI Inspire 1, Phantom 3
Professional and Phantom 4 have a camera that is specifically designed for
aerial filming and photography.

The best
drone for professional aerial filming is the DJI Inspire 2 mounted with the DJI
Zenmuse X7 camera.  The Inspire 2 image processing system CineCore 2.1,
records video at up to 6k in CinemaDNG/RAW and 5.2k in Apple ProRes when used
with the Zenmuse X7 camera.

The Inspire
2 is used by Hollywood producers. In fact, the Inspire 2 filmed all aerial and
ground shots in a short film called The Circle with cinematic quality.

How will
drones affect the future?

Drones will
transform our lives. Hundreds if not thousands of drones will fly above the towns
and cities. The drone revolution will change the way in which logistics and
transportation work now. But every good technology has a dark side. It may be a threat to the privacy of common people.

if you have any doubt, feel free to comment and share it with your friends who are interested in drones.

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