While most attention is paid to multi-rotors in the drone community, they are not the main choice. If you’re concerned around aerial mapping, you have to get asingle-rotor helis and fixed-wing aircraft also a perfect option for certain niche areas. Here are the four major types of the aerial drone system.
If you’d like to get a tiny camera in the clouds for a brief period, it’s difficult to claim with a multi-rotor. They’re the best and easiest way to get an ‘eye in the sky,’ and since they give you so much control over location and frame, they’re perfect for aerial imagery.
The disadvantage of multi-rotors is their restricted resilience and pace, rendering them unfit for big aerial mapping, long endurance surveillance and long-distance monitoring, such as pipelines, highways and electric lines.
Fixed-wing drones (as compared to rotary wings, i.e. helicopters) use wings like regular airplanes to provide lifts rather than vertical launch rotors. Since this, they just need to use power to drive forward, not hang on to the air, so they’re far more effective.
For this purpose, they can manage lengthier distances, map even wider areas and track their point of interest for a long time. In addition to increased performance, gas engines can also be used as their source of power. With a higher fuel density, many wing drones can stay up to 16 hours and more.
While a multi-rotor has several different propellers to carry it, a single rotor has only one, plus a rear rotor to guide its direction. Helicopters are very common in manned aeronautics, but still only fill a unique audience in the drone field.
A single-engine helicopter has a much higher efficiency than a multi-engine, and can be driven by a gas engine for even longer performance. It is the general rule of aerodynamics that the wider the blade of the rotor and the slower it revolves, the more powerful it is. That’s why the quad-copter is more powerful than the octocopter, and the rare long-lasting quads have a wide prop diameter.
The disadvantages are their size, expense, turbulence, and the risk of their wide spinning blades. Although a multi-rotor prop will definitely leave you with a bad scar, it’s unlikely to do anything more than that. Long sharp propellers of the heli may cause serious harm if you get in their path, and there’s been a number of casualties from RC recreational and drone helicopters.
FIXED-WING HYBRID VTOL
Combining the advantages of fixed-wing UAVs with the capacity to float is a new type of hybrids that can also lift off and drop vertically.
Different kinds are under production, some of which are essentially only existing fixed-wing models with vertical lift drivers bolted on. Rest are ‘tail sitter’ aircraft that look like a typical airplane but sit on their tails on the deck, aimed directly up to take off before tipping over to fly naturally, or ’tilt rotor’ styles where the propellers or even the entire wing with propellers attached may rotate from pointing up to launch to horizontally heading forward.