Imagine a world where the skies are filled with sleek, futuristic marvels silently gliding through the air. These airborne wonders are called drones. A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) without any human pilot, crew, or passengers on board. It can be controlled remotely by a human operator or a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) or possess varying levels of autonomy, ranging from autopilot assistance to full autonomy without human intervention. The transmitter and receiver are essential parts of a drone that enable communication and execution of instructions. Nowadays, many countries extensively employ drones in the military, consumer, delivery, and farming sectors. As a result, the demand for UAVs and drone parts is expected to increase significantly. In this article, we will explore the various parts of a drone and its functions to understand this technology better.
Table of Contents
Parts of a Drone Diagram
Drone Parts Names
- Standard Propeller
- Pusher Propeller
- Brushless Motor
- Motor Mount
- Landing Gear
- Electronic Speed Controllers
- Flight Controller
- The Receiver
- The Transmitter
- GPS Module
- Battery Monitor
- A Gimbal
- Gimbal Motor
- Gimbal Controller Unit
- Collision Avoidance Sensors
Parts of a Drone & Functions
Standard propellers are the regular propellers meant for a drone to fly. The whole drone moves just because of the propeller. Two of four propellers are standard propellers that rotate to push air downward to create a lift.
Plastic is a common material for most drones. However, in recent years, many companies have been utilizing carbon fiber for making strong propellers. Carbon fiber eventually increases the cost.
Various developments are going on to make propellers more efficient and lightweight for small and big drones. So, it is necessary to check the condition and design of the propeller before the drone takes flight. Propeller guards protect these propellers to avoid damage.
The pusher propeller is the propeller that pushes the drone to fly. These propellers determine the drone’s movement, whether it is moving forward or backward.
Propellers help in canceling out the motor torques during stationary flights. They are usually at the back of the drone. These propellers are also made of plastic and carbon fiber, relying on the drone’s quality and size. The pusher propeller also comes with a guard to avoid damage.
Brushless motors have a permanent magnet at the center, which rotates around the coil. In contrast, regular motors have coils in the center that rotate around the permanent magnet.
This motor is the best choice for the drone due to its better performance, efficiency, high speed, and performance.
These motors rotate clockwise and anti-clockwise by which the drone is dragged up. The brushless motors provide extra speed to the drone with minimum possible noise. The speed of this motor is faster, and energy loss is less due to not having the brushes rubbing against each other.
It helps to save costs and frequent maintenance. Also, it requires less energy; hence, the battery discharges much less and increases the flight timing.
Generally, the motor mount is part of the drone frame. It is a fixing arrangement of the motors. It has fewer parts present and is easy to replace.
It is a structure for landing the drone on the ground. We can see the helicopter-style landing gear in some drones. Some drones require more ground clearance, which has modified landing gear for increasing safety.
Some countries like USA and Dubai supply parcels with delivery drones throughout the country. In this case, more space or clearance is necessary for holding the parcels in landing gears.
The requirement of the landing gear varies as per the type of drone and its applications. Not all drones need landing gear. Without it, they can land safely on the ground.
There are two types of landing gear available. The first is fixed, and the other is retractable. When it is necessary to land on the ground, retractable landing gear comes out and retracts while the drone is in the air.
Electronic Speed Controllers
There are four main functions of the ESC.
- It monitors and varies the speed of the motors.
- Help in changing the direction of the drone.
- It helps in dynamic braking.
- It converts the DC power to AC power for propelling the brushless motor.
In modern drones, ESC is the main component. So many drone companies are doing innovations to make the ESC more efficient for high efficiency, high power, high resolution, and better performance of the drones.
The flight controller is the motherboard responsible for processing all the commands received from the pilot. It helps to interpret the inputs like monitoring battery, GPS, sensors, and IMU.
It controls various features like
- Regulating motor speed through ESC to steer the drone.
- Triggers the cameras
- Controls the autopilot and different autopilot modes like follow me, failsafe, waypoint, etc.
Flight control is the whole function of the drone.
There are two types of antennas present in the drone and its system. The transmitting antenna converts electrical signals into electromagnetic waves and radiates them. The receiving antenna converts electromagnetic waves into electrical signals.
The standard radio receiver receives the radio signal sent to the drone through the controller. The minimum number of channels to control a quad is 4, but 5 is usually recommended. We can find various manufacturers of the receiver unit in the market.
The function of the transmitter is to transmit the radio signal from the controller to the drone for implementing various commands.
The transmitter and the receiver use a single radio signal to communicate with the drone. Each signal has a code to differentiate the signals from the other radio signals in the air.
GPS stands for the Global Positioning System, which helps to locate the precise location of the drone. It is a navigation of the drone responsible for the latitude, longitude, elevation, and compass.
With this GPS, we can track the location of the drone and its timing. It gives the ability to the drone to track the earth’s surface or any other surface to maintain clearance while flying in a zig-zag way. It’s done through satellites.
In some drones, we can safely return to home function when we lose the connection to the controller.
It is a power source for every part of a drone. It makes every action possible to execute. Lithium and lithium polymer batteries are a good choice due to their correct efficiency and battery backup.
The size of the battery varies as per the drone size. Big drone mandates for applications like farming and delivery require big batteries with high efficiency and power backups.
The monitoring system of the drone tells about how much battery remains and how much distance the drone will fly. It also gives you an indication of when the battery comes to its critical level. All the details we can see on the controller.
The primary function of the camera is to take photographs and videos. Cameras capture and store the images and videos or send them to the controller. We can find the various types and qualities of the camera depending on the requirement.
In some drones, we can find the built-in camera, whereas, in some, it is detachable. Depending on the budget and the type of application, we have to select the camera. As we go for the high-resolution camera, the cost of the drone increases.
A gimbal is a pivoted support that permits the rotation of an object about an axis x, y, and z to stabilize the camera for better quality images and videos.
We can only take professional photos and videos if the gimble is high-grade. So, it is necessary to have a good quality gimble for the drone.
These are brushless DC motors. Its function is to smooth the horizontal and vertical directional rotations using the directional and balancing sensors.
Gimbal Controller Unit
Its primary function is to control the gimble motor for the drone position. It helps stabilize the camera in the x, y, and z directions by analyzing the data from the sensor and GPS for better image and video quality.
The function of the sensor is to collect the data and transfer it to the controller to take necessary action. We can see the various types of sensors on the drone, like motion sensors, thermal sensors, lidar, GPR sensors, tilt sensors, magnetic sensors, Lightweight Portable radiometers (LPR), etc.
These sensors sense the various parameters and send them to the controllers to take necessary action for better drone performance.
Collision Avoidance Sensors
These sensors are basically to avoid the collision of the drone with any other object while flying. Ultrasonic, lidar, infrared, monocular vision, ToF (Time of Flight), and vision sensors are common examples.
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A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) without any human pilot, crew, or passengers on board. The flight of UAVs may operate under remote control by a human operator, as remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA), or with various degrees of autonomy, such as autopilot assistance, up to fully autonomous aircraft that have no provision for human intervention.
Electronic Speed Controllers
Gimbal Controller Unit
Collision Avoidance Sensors