UAVs are an innovation for advancing essential procedures of several industries. They provide information on specific land areas in a less time, more cost-effective and safer way than manned aircraft or satellite imaging.
They help police to catch speeding vehicles and illegal hunting of animals. They also provide clear photos for road condition surveys and monitoring.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
UAVs have many military and commercial uses. They can provide high-resolution imagery and perform a range of other functions, such as inspections and monitoring. Some can stay in the air for hours at a time and have a range of up to 90 kilometers. They are also useful for providing surveillance and reconnaissance. They can also fly over large areas, saving valuable time for human operators. They can be operated by hand or by using a remote control.
Civilian drones first appeared in the 2000s – although they are considered to be technologically different from military drones. They have very small production volumes and are designed to meet specific customer needs. They are usually categorized by mass into small, medium and heavy drones. This classification helps to determine the main purpose of a UAV.
The term unmanned aircraft system (UAS) refers to a combination of hardware, software and operational procedures used to manage the air vehicle and its sensors, communication and navigation systems. This includes the command and control (C2) system that allows a pilot to operate the drone from a safe location on the ground. It also includes the electronic hardware and mechanical components needed to operate and support a UAV.
A UAV can be equipped with different payloads, such as cameras, lasers and sensors to gather data or deliver a payload. It can also be equipped with additional equipment, such as landing gear and fuel tanks, to carry out more complex missions. Some drones are even able to stay in the air for long periods of time, using solar power to overcome energy limitations.
Since 2006 the DoD has maintained strict guidance on domestic use of small UAS, including a requirement to obtain a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization from the FAA. Small DoD UAS may only operate in the National Airspace System (NAS) with the approval of the Secretary of Defense or the Geographic Combatant Commander, and then only under a DoD-FAA coordination agreement and for a DoD mission.
UAVs are a promising tool in the field of agriculture, particularly in the areas of crop surveillance and fertilization. They can help to reduce costs and improve crop quality. For example, drones can provide high-resolution imagery of the field, which makes it easier to detect and correct weeds and insects. They can also be used to monitor the condition of farmland and irrigation systems. They can also detect and report on soil conditions and water levels to prevent flooding.
Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)
Whether in the military or civilian sense, drone technology has immense prospects. Sufficiently developed, it could eventually replace pilots on the battlefield and in civil aviation. This would not only save human lives, but also reduce the number of plane crashes caused by mistakes made by humans.
The term UAS is used to describe a broad range of aircraft from the smallest, handheld-sized drones to purpose built, large fixed or rotary-wing vehicles. They are generally considered to be a potential safety risk to manned aviation, although they pose much less of a threat than the conventional fixed or rotary wing aircraft that people travel in.
UAS are currently being used by the military, police and law enforcement agencies for a wide variety of tasks ranging from surveillance to tactical support on the battlefield, rescuing victims trapped in building collapses, traffic accident investigations, search and rescue missions, monitoring chemical cloud releases or searching frozen lakes for missing persons (thermal). Unlike manned aircraft, these devices are portable, easy to transport, light to deploy, quiet to operate, highly modular, can be equipped with multiple payloads and provide high degrees of autonomy.
They are used by a wide range of private individuals and companies for a variety of commercial activities including aerial photography, filming, land surveying and mapping, agriculture and livestock herd management, real estate and property inspections, disaster response and relief, search and rescue, journalism, media events, sports, marketing and promotions, security monitoring and public events. Those who operate UAS are required to obtain a UAS operator's certificate and must comply with airspace restrictions set out in the applicable regulations.
In order to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace, there needs to be a common understanding of how they operate and what their performance requirements are. This has led to the development of a supra-national body, the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems, whose purpose is to create a single set of standards which can be adopted by individual States as part of their domestic airspace and aerodrome regulations.
While there are a number of different types of UASs on the market, most operate as a remotely controlled aircraft. They can be operated by a person on the ground who uploads flight and mission instructions via an electronic controller to the onboard computer.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems (UAVS)
Initially developed for military and aerospace applications, drones have become popular in other sectors, with commercial uses such as aerial photography, film making, surveying infrastructure, inspection of power lines, pipelines and buildings, wildlife surveys and medical supply delivery. Drones can also be used for emergency response and disaster recovery, such as search and rescue, firefighting, communications relay, asset protection and agriculture.
In addition, drones have been used extensively for humanitarian purposes during the coronavirus pandemic. From quarantine and social distancing enforcement to mass disinfection and medical supply delivery assistance, these devices have proven their effectiveness in the field.
The most common use for UAVs is for recreational purposes such as photography and videography, with a growing market in commercial uses for industries such as real estate, insurance, architecture and construction. In this space, small, compact drones are gaining prominence. These are often equipped with high definition cameras, allowing users to create detailed photographs and videos of locations and events. Some can be controlled remotely from a mobile device and some even come with an integrated stabiliser to reduce the effects of vibration.
Larger UAVs have been designed for surveillance and inspections, such as those used by the police for crime scene analysis and by oil companies to monitor their assets. The most sophisticated models can be equipped with sensors that identify buried objects and other hazardous materials in the ground, such as land mines.
The smallest category of UAVs are micro drones, which can be flown under Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) by people with little or no training and typically have a payload of less than a kilogram. They can be equipped with cameras and other sensors, such as LiDAR, to enable navigation, flight and landing safety.
Middle-sized UAVs have a wingspan of 5-10 m and can carry payloads of 100 to 200 kg. Examples include the US Hunter and UK Watchkeeper. The medium class is largely dominated by fixed-wing UAVs, which are more suitable for large-scale VLOS missions, but multirotor systems are becoming increasingly popular as they can be deployed more quickly and in difficult to reach areas.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
UAVs are versatile platforms capable of carrying a wide range of payloads and operating in a multitude of environments. They can perform many tasks, including data collection and image processing for a variety of uses. In addition, they can be programmed to autonomously execute a flight mission using pre-defined parameters. This makes them an ideal tool for disaster management and response.
Drones are a relatively new technology, but they have already revolutionized the way we work and live. They are used in a range of commercial and leisure activities, from agriculture and infrastructure inspection to video surveillance and search and rescue operations. They are also used in a variety of military and homeland security applications, including border patrol and reconnaissance missions.
The development of UAVs began in the early 1990s, when the USA and other States used adapted DH82 Tiger Moth aircraft called ‘Queen Bees’ for gunnery target practice. They were equipped with radio control systems to operate them from long distances away from the pilot and were flown by Navy and RAF personnel.
In the years after World War II, small drones resembling large model airplanes were developed by the Israeli Defense Forces for use in battlefield surveillance and target designation. These were fitted with trainable television cameras, infrared sensors and laser-guided munitions, all downlinked to the command station. They proved to be effective and cost-efficient weapons systems, and other armed forces learned from this early success.
Since 2007, UAVs have been governed on a supra-national basis by the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems (JARUS). JARUS is a consortium of national aviation authorities and regional air traffic management organisations, and its members represent 35 States around the world. The JARUS approach aims to strike the right balance between safety requirements, communication and harmonisation.
Unlike traditional helicopters and jets, which may not be suitable for urban areas, nano UAVs can access difficult-to-reach areas and provide an initial assessment of the impact of the disaster on the environment. The images they take can help the crew to plan quick and efficient rescue operations. Moreover, they can also detect survivors trapped inside the debris.