Drones, formally known as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), were used primarily for military purposes. Essentially small flying robots, drones are now utilised in an array of civilian services, including deliveries, construction, photography, and even entertainment. UAVs are also used in search and rescue missions, climate and weather monitoring, smart cities, and other long-term objectives. As human creativity develops new ways to use drones, UAV technology is improved to keep up with increasing demand. These improvements include structural modifications, flying features upgrades, and enhanced navigation control capabilities, and in the right hands creating systems with incredible benefits.

The market offers a wide range of drones, classified according to Size, Weight, and Power (SWAP). Communication being a significant factor in all technology, drones have come a long way, especially in that aspect, going from zero data capabilities in the first generation to comprehensive connectivity and IP networking in 5G, linking across the World Wide Web.

Here are four types of drones you need to know about, and maybe look out for:

1.  Quadcopters

With a simple flight mechanism and four arms, each with a motor attached to a propellor, this type of drone is especially common. Its design is flexible and allows different applications. Many multi-national companies use drones, utilising quadcopters to transport medicines, food, and deliveries.

2. Cyclo-copters

This type of drone is structured as a cylinder with two or four rotors. Its operating principles are similar to those of a paddleboat. The rotors stir through the air and control the movement by creating lift and thrust. Cyclo-copters are evolving; developers are miniaturising and optimising them further as technology progresses. They coordinate well, making them ideal for forming swarms and operating simultaneously as one unit.

3. Autonomous indoor drones

This technological advancement is relatively new in the market. A classic drone depends on its operator and must be visible to them to fly safely. However, when the operator is guided by video footage that provides FPV (First Person View), they can navigate the drone under any condition, with or without LOS (Line of Sight), avoid obstacles, and even fly indoors by viewing what the drone “sees”. Additional upgrades in some drones include ultra-sonic, IR, and optical sensors. These groundbreaking features provide drones with autonomy and allow drone operators to penetrate and gather information in closed areas previously inaccessible to outsiders and unauthorized persons.

4. Insect-shaped UAVs

Also known as “Ornithopters”, these miniature vehicles are about the size of a human hand and are the most common in the flapping-wing drone category. Besides being one of the more intriguing drone designs, flapping-wing drones provide enhanced manoeuvrability, camouflage capabilities, and flight efficiency. Weighing a minimum of a few hundred mg, these tiny flying robots are designed in the shape of bees and other insects, and some can move on the ground in addition to flying and perch on people or furniture. They combine nature’s techniques with advanced UAV technology and can easily fool any unsuspecting individual.

The four types of drones mentioned above are only a small part of a rapidly growing industry. Undoubtedly impressive, these technological improvements don’t always stay in the right hands. With the ability to enter any perimeter and move freely, synchronize activity with other drones, and even disguise as harmless creatures, these small flying vehicles are often used for malicious purposes and create unimaginable damage. Technological progress, especially in the UAV industry, is both a blessing and a curse. Defence systems available in the market today can detect drones as they approach public or protected areas, determine whether they are hazardous, mitigate them when necessary, and successfully tackle rapidly evolving threats like pre-programmed drone swarms.