What is a drone and what is it for? Characteristics and functions

Drones have become an important part of the tasks we carry out in various fields of activity. That is why it is increasingly common to see this type of “flying vehicles” among us. But do you really know what a drone is?

It is important to know the characteristics of this type of unmanned aircraft and to understand what drones are for, so that you can take advantage of all the functions they have.

If you want to know what a drone is and what it is used for, you can’t miss this article in which we explain in detail everything related to drones: operation, types and uses. In this way, you will be able to learn from all the information about drones that we have to offer you at UMILES.

What is a drone?

Before knowing what drones are and what they are used for, it is important to know what these aircraft are commonly known as. The definition of drones can be very broad, as different terms are often used to encompass these devices.

A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle, meaning that is a type of aircraft that is capable of moving through the air without a pilot on board. They can be controlled remotely, or by specific programming using software and GPS to operate autonomously.

This is only one definition of a drone, although they are also known as UAVs or RPAs. For this reason, it is necessary to differentiate between the characteristics that distinguish these types of drones according to their acronyms.

What is an RPA?

As mentioned above, there are different modes of drone operation. The most common are RPAs (Remotely Piloted Aircraft), which are remotely operated drones, and are literally defined as remotely piloted aircraft.

Therefore, all those drones that can be configured and have the autonomy to operate without the direct control of a remote pilot are excluded from this type of variety. Remember that you have an article to learn more about the meaning of RPA.

What is a RPA drone?

How does a drone work?

Drones work by means of a set of electric motors that propel the device through a multi-propeller system that provides great stability when taking off, flying and landing.

They usually have long battery life, so they are able to stay in the air for quite a long time before requiring a battery change or recharge. So they are very useful for a variety of uses.

In the case of RPAs, they are operated from a remote ground station via a communications link, which sends signals to the drone to perform the manoeuvres the pilot wants it to perform.

On the other hand, those that are not remotely controlled are linked to software that uses GPS to programme controlled flights, and these operate autonomously. In this variety are drones used for agriculture, which are usually programmed to perform various tasks on crops (see drone precision farming course).

Some of them have multiple sensors that allow them to detect obstacles on the route, capture images, make drone filming or additional accessories, such as lights that allow drones to fly at night, so that their specific operation varies depending on the characteristics of the drone.

What is a drone used for?

If you are one of those people who wonders: what are drones used for? You will be surprised to know that there are many applications that have been given to this type of aerial vehicles nowadays. In fact, there are so many functions of a drone that more and more uses are being found every day to improve the way in which various activities are carried out.

Below we detail the functions of drones in general and the main uses of professional drones, as well as those used for recreational purposes.

1. Drones for Cinematographic Filming

One of the main uses for a drone is in the cinematographic field, to capture scenes from the air, with a view to all angles, without any interference and with very little consumption of resources.

Drones for filmmaking facilitate the aerial filming process, as it avoids the need to use helicopters or any type of crane to capture images at altitude. Now, just by adapting a powerful system of cameras and lenses, professional quality images can be obtained in a short time. At UMILES GROUP we are specialists in aerial filming with drones for TV, cinema and advertising with our drone filming division.

2. What is the use of drones in agriculture?

In agriculture, different processes have been optimised by automating them through the use of technology. Therefore, it is common to see drones being used for spraying or crop irrigation, which streamline the process and optimise resources. Therefore, this is another of the uses for which the drone serves as the main working element.

3. What is a security drone used for?

Drones are also especially useful for the control and monitoring of airspace. Their portability and autonomy allow them to be used for the exploration of areas that are inaccessible from a human perspective.

4. What do entertainment drones do?

One of the most striking applications of drones today is their use for mass entertainment through light shows. This type of drone shows are becoming more and more fashionable and you can hire them through our Drone Light Show division that we offer at UMILES. Without a doubt, it is an excellent alternative for celebrations or special event promotions.

They can be used as a substitute for fireworks shows, which are usually very polluting. So they are an excellent entertainment alternative, offering a unique and unparalleled experience.

5. Fire and disaster control

Some professional drones are equipped with powerful systems that allow them to carry heavy payloads to help fight fires and forest disasters. These help to provide rapid access to the affected area, without putting the pilot’s life at risk.A

6. Cargo transport

Depending on the characteristics of a drone, special uses can be applied that enhance the wide-ranging benefits of these devices.

One of the most recent uses, but one that is gaining momentum, is logistics and transport drones, which are used to deliver packages and goods. Although this activity is not yet regulated in Spain, in other countries they are used as an alternative to sales businesses with delivery services to make quick and efficient deliveries.

7. Recreational drones

Finally, one of the most popular uses of drones is recreational. This refers to those who wish to fly a drone only as a hobby and do not perform any specific activity during the flight.

Parts of a drone

Drones are made up of several fundamental parts that contribute to their operation. From the motors and propellers that generate the propulsive force, to the sensors and control systems that enable stability and precise navigation.

If you would like more detailed information about the different parts of a drone and how each one contributes to its successful flight, we invite you to read our drone parts article. There you will find answers to all your questions related to this topic.

Drone characteristics according to their use

At this point you should be clear about what a drone is and what it is used for, but you may still be unclear about the characteristics of these aircraft. There are many ways to distinguish the types of drones, but in a general sense we can classify drones according to their characteristics of use:

  • Personal drones
  • Professional drones
  • Cargo drones
  • Passenger drones

Personal drones

Personal drones are usually the simplest drones, as they have no specific requirements. They can be used solely for the purpose of the flying experience, so they have no additional elements.

Many models usually have a camera for simple aerial photography and filming, allowing the user to observe their surroundings from a different point of view.

Features of a professional drone

Professional drones are usually larger or have more parts to perform a specific activity. These drones are used to perform multiple types of activities, and there are more and more tasks that a professional drone can be used for.

Some of the elements that characterise professional drones are high definition cameras, stabilisers, proximity sensors, among many others.

Characteristics of passenger drones

The characteristics of a passenger drone are different from most UAS, as they are aircraft designed to hold a passenger and his or her luggage inside, with the capacity to rise and land vertically.

What are cargo drones like?

The main function of the cargo drone is to transport items from one place to another, so its main feature is a winch that is placed on the body of the drone to lift loads of different weights.

Now that you know what a drone is and what it is used for, it is time for you to take the decision to try your skills with the use of this type of unmanned aircraft. All you have to do is contact our team at UMILES Group to find out about all the services we offer you.

And if you want to become a qualified professional and certified by AESA to work in one of the sectors with more labour demand at the moment, we recommend our professional drone pilot course.

5 characteristics of a cargo drone

The characteristics of cargo drones can vary depending on the model and brand, but five common characteristics they usually have are:

  • Payload capacity: These types of drones are designed to carry heavy payloads. Therefore, a key feature is their payload capacity, which can vary from a few to hundreds of kilograms, depending on their size.
  • Flying range: To fulfil their cargo carrying purpose, they must have high-capacity drone batteries or even hybrid propulsion systems.
  • Advanced navigation systems: These drones need sophisticated navigation systems to fly autonomously and safely.
  • Stability and endurance: Due to the heavy loads they carry, these drones need to be stable and sturdy.
  • Communication and connectivity: Cargo drones often require reliable communication and connectivity for their operation. This may involve the ability to connect to mobile networks, satellite networks or remote control systems.

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