Drones come in a range of sizes, styles, and types, and they are used by everyone from the military to professionals to kids and families. You can find types of drones that are a mere few inches in size or you will find others that are as large as a plane. They all have one thing in common, which is that they are types of UAVs (unmanned air vehicles).
Drones can be fun for kids to play with, but they also help companies in a number of ways. Photographers use them for aerial shots, and warehouses can use them to check inventory. The military uses them for many different kinds of operations. Continue reading to learn about fourteen different types of drones that are available today.
1. Single-Rotor Drones
One of the most common drone types is the single-rotor drone. They use only one rotor, which makes them more efficient and able to have longer flight times. This is a helicopter-like drone, and they can hover with heavier loads. The drawback to this type of drone is that they are expensive, they vibrate, and have a large spinning blade that is dangerous. They are mechanically complex and require more maintenance than other types of drones. They range in price from $25K to over $300K.
2. Multi-Rotor Drones
A multi-rotor drone has several different rotors that are strategically placed, and this type of drone can hover for a longer period of time. The extra rotors give it greater balance when it is hovering. The drawback is that this type of drone will not be able to remain in the air as long; in fact, they normally can only remain airborne for thirty minutes. They can’t carry heavy loads because it would distract from the balance of the drone. They are also expensive, ranging from $5K to $65K.
3. Fixed-Wing Drones
Another type of drone is a fixed-wing drone, which operates similarly to a controlled airplane. They have wings for their vertical lift, so they need only the energy necessary for forward motion. Fixed-wing drones work well as long-range drones. They can stay airborne for as many as 16 hours. The disadvantage of this type of drone is that it is not able to hover. They are also more difficult to land. You need to be an expert to fly these drone types. They range in price from $25K to $120K.
4. Fixed-Wing Hybrid Drones
This type of drone is a hybrid of a fixed-wing drone and a rotor drone. It usually has a rotor attached to the end of each wing. They are still in the experimental stages so they are not readily available, but they should be very useful when they become more widely available.
5. Small Drones
Small drones include those that are from twenty to eighty inches long. They cost around $100 or less and they are used for recreational purposes. They are light and do not have great stability, but they are a lot of fun for children and hobbyists who are just learning how to operate a drone.
6. Micro Drones
Micro drones are very small types of drones that are used by the military. They can carry microcameras and provide intelligence on enemies and others. They have been used since 2013 and they are 1” x 4”, which is very small. The British use one called the Black Hornet that is stored on a special belt. They have a flight time of 25 minutes and a range of a mile.
7. Tactical Drones
Tactical drones are also used by the military, and they are usually used for surveillance. There is one called the Raven that is 4.5 feet long and weighs 4.2 pounds. They are equipped with infrared cameras and can help soldiers get an idea of the territory ahead. They also have GPS technology on board and are pretty easy to use, and soldiers do not need any special training before they use them.
8. Reconnaissance Drones
This is another military drone, and it is too large to be handheld. They are usually around 16 feet long, and they are also known as MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) or HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) drones. They are able to stay airborne for 52 hours at a time and they can fly at 35,000 feet.
9. Large Combat Drones
These are common military drones and they are about 36 feet long. They are used to fire missiles and laser-guided bombs. They can fly for fourteen hours up to 1000 miles and are used by a number of countries, including the United States, France, Spain, and the UK.
10. Non-Combat Large Drones
These are large drones that are not used in combat but they perform a number of important jobs. They can fly over combat zones for surveillance, and they can scan phone calls and more. They are very expensive; one called the Global Hawk costs $131 million.
11. Target and Decoy Drones
Decoy drones operate as decoys in combat. They can simulate a missile to draw fire from anti-aircraft units. This helps to distract the enemy from actual missiles and combat drones. They have a very important role in the military. There are a lot of different types of drones used by the military all over the world.
12. GPS Drones
GPS drones are linked to satellites, and they are used to map out a flight and collect data. They can help people map out the topography of a landscape, for example. They use a lot of battery power and many of them are pre-programmed to return to the base as soon as their power supply is low.
13. Photography Drones
There are drones that are designed to take professional photos, and they are growing in popularity and they often have several rotors and they are equipped with a professional-grade camera. They can take photos and videos and also return to the base when they are running low on power.
14. Racing Drones
Racing drones are a lot of fun and they can travel at high speeds of up to 60 miles an hour. They are used specifically for this purpose, and they are affordable.