What are drones?

More formally known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or unmanned aircraft system (UAS), a drone is effectively a flying robot that is navigated using a GPS tracking system from the ground. As well as being remotely controlled, drones can also fly autonomously through a software-controlled flight plan.

In recent years, drones have increased in popularity as new models and types have been released. What was once seen as a piece of technology used only by the military, is now used within a growing number of industries, as well as for personal use.

Why are drones called drones?

The term ‘drone’ was coined in reference to remote control aircraft that were used for practice firing of battleship’s guns. ‘Drone’ is more widely used by the public; however, different countries have different terms. For example, the United States Department of Defence adopted the term unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in 2005.

Are all drones unmanned?

Yes. All drones are designed to be remotely piloted from the ground using GPS. They can also fly autonomously if programmed to do so.

What is the difference between a drone and a quadcopter?

A quadcopter is also another name for a drone, although strictly speaking, it refers to an aircraft with four main rotors, including a motor and propeller on each. ‘Quadcopter’ is a more specific term, whereas the term drone covers a broad range of unmanned aircrafts.

What is the difference between a drone and UAV?

The terms drone and UAV can be used interchangeably as they both mean the same thing. UAV stands for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and the term drone is a broad term for an unmanned aircraft. Both are controlled remotely or autonomously. This is why you may find the same aircraft referred to as both a drone and a UAV.

What are drones used for?

Drones can be used for a whole host of uses and applications. Some of these include:

  • Attack drones

This type of drone is only used by the military and is equipped with weapons, which can be used for controlled airstrikes.

  • Delivery drones

Used by some big shipping companies such as Amazon, delivery drones are a new way of delivering items to customers.

  • Surveillance drones

Equipped with cameras, surveillance drones can be used across a number of industries, such as law enforcement, sports, forestry and farming.

  • Photography and videography drones

Before drones, aerial photographs had to be taken above from a helicopter or airplane. However, as technology has evolved, drones can now take high-quality images and videos without the expense of hiring a manned aircraft.

Agriculture Drones

If you are asking the question “what are drones used for in agriculture?”, you’ve come to the right place.

Drones are being adopted more in agriculture and farming due to their ability to analyse land in a short space of time and provide data fast.

There are several benefits to using agriculture drones for greater efficiency, such as:

  • Carrying out field surveys
  • Estimating crop yield
  • Keeping track of livestock

Find out more about drone use in agriculture here.

How drone technology works

There are a several UAV drones on the market, all available in a variety of sizes. The largest drone is often used for military purposes, followed by unmanned aircraft. This type of drone technology has wings and needs a short runway to operate successfully. These types are commonly used to cover large sections of land.

VTOL drones

Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) drones are commonly known as quadcopters and take off, fly, hover and land in a vertical position.


Some drone types boast dual Global Navigational Satellite Systems (GNSS), such as GPS and GLONASS. Drones can fly in both GNSS and non-satellite modes.

Return to home technology

Radar technology on a UAV drone GNSS on ground station remote controller will display:

  • That the drone is ready to fly as enough drone GNSS satellites have been detected
  • The current position and location of the drone relative to the pilot’s position
  • The home point for the ‘Return to Home’ safety feature

Return to Home drone technology exists in three types in most of the latest UAVs and can:

  • Be initiated by the pilot by pressing the button on the remote controller or in the app
  • Be activated once a low battery is detected, where the UAV will fly back to the home point
  • Be initiated when loss of contact between the UAV and Remote Controller occurs

Find out more about drone technology here.

Here at RAWview, we help businesses unlock the true potential of drone technology. From the actual drones themselves to cameras, sensors and software, we can provide your business with a drone that’s perfect for your application. To find out more about our end-to-end solutions that deliver exceptional results, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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