Drone is simply a term that is used for any unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or remotely piloted aerial systems (RPAS) that can be controlled by a human pilot via a remote or by a pre-programmed computer software. Drones are informal definition similar with flying robots that are used by the military and other sectors (in need of aerial view) for research, observation, surveillance, search and rescue operations. They are best applied and preferred in situations where manned operations are too risky or difficult to achieve or maybe unnecessary.
Generally speaking, drones can be fixed wing aircrafts, quadcopters, helicopters, tricopters or hexacopters or octacopters or any creative alternately propelled hybrids. Drones are usually known more for their self-sufficiency, small payloads, computer/remote-controlled flights, their build-up is smaller, lighter and less expensive than manned aircraft which expand the spectrum of their usefulness. In fact, drones have been allowed to be generally used by anybody for commercial purposes such as camera drones and in some recreational activities compared to other aerial vehicles which are used majorly by the military due to their complexities.
Drones are categorized into two major types which include:
Remotely piloted drones: there is a pilot controlling the operations of these types of drones which makes the users to be able to get the very best functionality out of these vehicles.
Autonomous drones: there is a pre-programmed computer software installed on these types of drones to control all its activities so that it follows a set flight path and or complete a given mission.
This is a particular type of drone design that uses exactly four rotors for its propulsion, and it is also known as quadrotor or quadrotor helicopter. Quadcopters have rotors which each consist of a motor and a propeller which balance themselves by the movement of the blades and not the use of a tail rotor.
They have two clockwise, and two counterclockwise pairs of identical fixed pitched propellers. A specifically desired thrust can be generated when the speed of each rotor is being changed and creating a desired total torque or turning force.
Differences Between Drones and Quadcopters
A quadcopter is usually a controllable elevated vehicle while drones have segments which allow it to be independent such as a GPS which therefore makes it not necessarily human control dependent but totally programmable.
Drones tend to have longer flight time due to their lighter weight and also depending on their battery life of different drones in comparison to quadcopters.
Quadcopters are very good for hovering, staying put in the air means hovering.
Drones have better efficiency when it comes to delivering or transporting something over long distances quickly, and it consumes less energy and has more speed.
Quadcopters have a better take-off than drones, and it is easier to shoot upward compared to drones, as it also has more moving parts than drones.
This is a type of rotorcraft that possesses rotors that supply its lifts and thrust. Each rotor consists of a hub, mast and rotor blades. A rotor system, which is the rotating part of the helicopter that generates lift, may be mounted horizontally as main rotors providing lift vertically or it may be mounted vertically such as a tail rotor, providing horizontal thrust to counteract thrust from the main rotor. The main rotor system is classified according to how they move relative to the hub and how the rotor blades are attached, therefore, they are categorized into three basic types viz; fully articulated, hinge-less and teetering and additionally some modern rotor systems use the combination of these. The main limitation of the helicopter is its low-speed which is due to its blades compared to fixed wing aircraft.
Differences between Quadcopters and Helicopters
i. Quadcopters are easier to produce and usually more durable than helicopters basically due to the simplicity of their mechanical build up.
ii. Quadcopters' smaller blades make it possess less kinetic energy thereby lessening their ability to cause serious damage.
iii. Quadcopters balance themselves by the use of blades while helicopter balance by the use of a tail rotor.
iv. Flying a helicopter requires a certain finesse and practice compared to quadcopters which can be easily learned much faster.
v. Quadcopters have a vast amount of onboard software that stabilizes flight because there are too many variables to consider which makes it nearly impossible for a human to fly compared to helicopters.
vi. Helicopters blades can move at a lower speed and still produce more lift than the quadcopters since the quadcopters blades are smaller and always move at a higher speed.
Quadcopter vs Helicopter Efficiency
Helicopters are more efficient than quadcopters due to the mechanical complexities and engineering work that is put into helicopters compared to quadcopters.
Helicopters vs Quadcopters Flight time
Helicopters are capable of longer flight time compared to quadcopters when using the same amount of energy. Also, quadcopters require energy to slow the speed of the blades during aerial maneuvers, but helicopters do not require energy for slowing its blades.
Cost of Quadcopters vs Helicopter
Quadcopters are less cheaper than helicopters and also require less maintenance to maintain top performance. With the same capabilities, you will find a quadcopter that is cool at about $1000, but helicopter will be about $100,000.
Differences between Drones and Helicopter RC
i. Drones can reach some places that helicopters may not be able to get to such as flying through trees, flying near tall structures and cresting over a ridge.
ii. It is easier to do re-shoots with drones than with helicopter RC due to its level of complexity compared to drones.
iii. Drones are easier to produce compared to the amount of mechanical engineering and technology that needs to go into a helicopter RC which also makes it very expensive.
Cost of Drone vs Helicopter RC
Drones are less expensive compared to helicopter because a helicopter is way expensive due to its price of service which includes the mechanical engineering complexities and technology required.
This is a type of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which is essentially remote-controlled to carry out its operations. They are so much just like helicopters except that they are always unmanned whereas helicopter depending on the size can still be manned.
Differences Between RC Plane and Drones
i. RC plane usually has rough flights and unwanted gyrations during flight compared to drones and quadcopters.
ii. RC plane is limited and restricted in use compared to drones which have even been commercialized as camera drones due to its simplicity and degree of safety.
iii. Drones can fly autonomously, that is without any external control while RC plane requires a pilot to be controlling its movements and activities.
Differences between RC Plane and Quadcopters
i. RC plane fly faster and higher compared to quadcopters.
ii. RC plane has much less maneuverability compared to quadcopters.
iii. RC plane can travel longer distances with relative ease compared to quadcopters
iv. RC plane are easier to fly for a beginner pilot compared to flying a quadcopter.
v. Quadcopters have a greater control precision when compared to RC planes.