HomeTechDifferent Types of Drones and UAVs with Their Features

Different Types of Drones and UAVs with Their Features

The concept of agile and flexible unmanned flying machines is not a century old. However, with their high-performing capabilities, agility, dexterity, and precision, they have revolutionized diverse industries worldwide. Yes, we are talking about drones, which are pretty popular these days.

These compact machines serve various purposes, including aerial photography to monitoring traffic, surveillance to military purposes, and so on. Drones are now used in almost every industry, you name it! However, do you know that different types of drones are used for different purposes?

Yes, for diverse needs, different types of drones with diverse features, speeds, and aircraft frames are required. Hence, if you are thinking about getting a drone, you should first know the different types of drones. To put your confusion at bay, we have rounded up 10 different types of drones in this article. They suit diverse needs including commercial, individual, recreational, military, adventure, and more. Read on!!

Table of Content

What is a drone?

A drone, also referred to as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), is a compact aircraft without a human pilot onboard. These devices are operated remotely either by a human operator or autonomously by onboard computers.

The emergence of these unmanned aerial vehicles has taken the world to a new level. They are used for numerous, including surveillance, military missions, agriculture, aerial photography, recreational activities, and so on. Their distinctive feature is that they can fly in enclosed or open spaces without human pilots or manual operations.

This is because of the incorporation of the most advanced computer programming technologies or AI in them. They come with sensors, cameras, and AI that allow them to fly and perform specific tasks without human intervention.

There are many different types of drones available out there. Each type is designed to serve specific purpose. Hence, those who are planning to invest in drone should first understand the different types before investing their hard-earned money in it. Having prior knowledge can help you invest your money on the right piece that will serve your purpose immensely.

Let’s now take a look at the different types of drones. Here we go…

How Many Types of Drones and UAVs?

Here is our rundown of the 10 different types of drones along with their potential uses. Check out this list to gain insights into different drone types. Read on!

1. Multi-rotor Drones

Multi-rotor drones are the most sought-after drones because of their compatibility, affordability, and accessibility. Industry experts have designed their different variants, but they usually follow the universal design principle. A central chassis connects its eight-pitched propellers and ensures the drone’s full-proof security system.

Multi-rotor Drones

These propellers usually control the high speed and elevation of the whole aircraft by altering the thrust and torque (power) they generate. This allows drones to fly with the utmost dexterity and precision in both confined and open spaces. Its four-propellor multi-rotor, which is known as a quadcopter has gained the utmost popularity in the industry because of its flexibility, maneuverability, and cost-effectiveness.

FPV drones are also categorized as multi-rotor drones. They offer real-time views and are often useful in aerial photography and videography. Though it is true that multi-rotor drones are high-performing in comparison to many drones like fixed-wing aircraft drones, it does not mean that they are the ultimate high-performing aircraft with limitless efficiencies.

They have their own advantages and limitations that you should never overlook. Take a look at the following pointers to know their features, pros, cons, and prices.

➢ Key Features of Multi-rotor Drones

  • VTOL and hover flight
  • The camera’s efficiency is the best to offer clear and crystal views
  • Its compact design is good for surveying professionals
  • Typically range from 25 to 50 km/h
  • Offers flight times of over 60 minutes

➢ Pros

  • Easy to control and can fly in enclosed as well as open areas
  • Offers good HD camera views
  • An affordable option
  • Good for aerial inspection, aerial photography, and land or cultivation surveying

➢ Cons

  • Slow in speed
  • Maps out a limited range only

➢ Ideal For: Aerial Photography and Videography

➢ Prices: $5K-$65k for multirotor Pro drones

2. Fixed-wing Drones

The next type of drone is a fixed-wing drone. This closely resembles a conventional radio-controlled aircraft. Just like motor-rotor drones, many different configurations of fixed-wing drones are available.

Fixed-wing Drones

However, they usually follow their conventional design principle which is equipped with a fuselage, a single rotor, and two wings. The best part of fixed-wing drones is that they can cover enlarged areas because of their powerful autonomy.

Hence, they are considered best for agriculture. Often, these drones are used in the agriculture industry. They turn out to be very efficient in capturing the views of agricultural fields and oil and gas industries. However, despite their high capacities, they have one limitation: they are less popular in the domain of surveying applications.

➢ Key Features

  • High endurance power
  • Great flight speed
  • Aerodynamic advantage

➢ Pros

  • Built-in security features
  • Easily recover from power failure
  • Withstand stormy winds

➢ Cons

  • Expensive
  • Trained pilots are needed
  • No VTOL/hover
  • A substantial area is required for landing off
  • Less manoeuvrability in confined spaces
  • Large structure

➢ Ideal For: Agriculture and Oil and Gas Industries.

➢ Prices: $25- $120k (depending on the built-in technologies and brand)

3. Single-rotor Helicopter Drones

Then, there are Single-rotor Helicopter Drones. The robustness and durability of airframe characterize single-rotor helicopter drones. These UAVs resemble actual helicopters’ aesthetics or looks. A single large propellor rotor that typically rotates above its main body lifts it in the air in a balanced manner. Plus, its rear part, which resembles a tail, is crucial to controlling, stabilizing, and guiding the directions to drones.

Single-rotor Helicopter Drones

On comparing single-rotor helicopter drones with multi-rotor drones, it is found that single-rotor helicopters are more efficient in carrying larger loads. This is because they do not use batteries but use gas engines that make them more powerful. These drones are best for surveyors and construction professionals who wish to lift heavier payloads of up to 40kgs.

So, if you aim to transport heavy payloads such as aerial LiDAR laser scanners and fly at a swift speed, single-rotor helicopter drones should be your preferred pick.

➢ Key Features

  • Powered with gas engines
  • Long endurance
  • VTOL and hover flight
  • Fly with one battery
  • High speeds
  • Can lift heavy payloads
  • Used in aerial scanning, exploration, and surveying the applications

➢ Pros

  • Robust airframe
  • Durable drone
  • Good for long and swift flights
  • Long blades spin like a wheel and enhance efficiency
  • Heavy payload capability such as Aerial LiDAR laser scanner

➢ Cons

  • Complex in nature and difficult to maneuver
  • Relatively expensive
  • Noisey due to vibrations
  • Less stabilized in the event of a bad landing
  • Heavy spinning blades can be dangerous

➢ Ideal For: Surveyors and Construction Professionals

➢ Prices: $25 -$300k (depending on the advanced technology and the brand you choose)

4. Fixed-Wing Hybrid VTOL Drones

Fixed-wing hybrid VTOLs, as the name suggests, are hybrid VTOL drones. These drones combine the capabilities of two unique drones, i.e., fixed-wing drones and rotor drones. Simply expressed, the cutting-edge design of this drone type has rotors that are fixed to its fixed wings. Hence, they allow for long-endurance flights.

Fixed-Wing Hybrid VTOL Agriculture Types of Drones

However, their operation is difficult to understand. Operators need to have training to operate it. However, they are new in the market but are sure to leave a mark with their impressive features and vast usability. They are very versatile drones. They can be used for various purposes, including surveillance, aerial inspection, agriculture, rescue victims, and more.

➢ Key Features

  • Have two capabilities in one-fixed wings and rotor-based engines
  • Fast forward flight
  • VTOL and hover
  • High-tech camera

➢ Pros

  • Swift speed
  • Heavy payload capability
  • Autopilot makes it a stabilized aircraft

➢ Cons

  • Expensive
  • The modern technology used for this drone’s operation is in its nascent stage.

➢ Ideal For: Commercial and Military Aerial Operations

➢ Prices: A Fixed-Wing Hybrid VTOL may cost you somewhere around $10,184. However, you can check for prices on different platforms.

5. Small Drones

The next type includes small drones. In contrast to the mentioned drones, small drones are inexpensive yet compact in size. These drones come with fixed wings, making it easier for the operator to throw them into the air. These drones are not ideal for commercial inspections in agriculture and oil and gas industries.

Small Drones for Home Use

However, they are considered best for recreational purposes. In addition, many households have them for photography and in-house or in-building inspection. The best part is that they are very light in weight, and they do not need the use of rotors to maintain control and stability. Despite this, you can easily get a picture-perfect balance to capture perfect photos via these drones.

➢ Key Features

  • Vey compact in size
  • They usually have length of up to 300 mm
  • Very lightweight
  • Carrying them is a breeze
  • Weight: 200- 1000 gm

➢ Pros

  • Very Affordable
  • Great for children and adults looking for drones for recreational purposes
  • Help with in-house management

➢ Cons

  • Not efficient for commercial purposes

➢ Ideal For: Recreational Purposes, Photography, and in-house or in-building Inspection

➢ Prices: The cost of a small drone varies from $50 to $1000, depending on the brand and technology used.

6. Micro Drones

Well, as the name suggests, micro drones are much smaller than small drones. These drones are incredibly small, ranging in size from 1 to 50 cm. Because of their insect-like size, they are considered crucial for military operations. More often than not, these drones are used by military personnels for special purposes, such as to know the conspiring activities of the enemy.

Micro Drone With Camera

They are usually sent to spy on enemy countries’ military activities. Since they are very small, they are easy to hide. It is difficult for one to figure out if it is a drone. The best part of these drones is that they can fly in very narrow spaces without being detected. They are often used to capture secret views through their cameras. Additionally, it is not difficult for them to capture pictures of secret or confined areas at night.

➢ Key Features

  • Very compact in size
  • Hard to detect
  • Can fly narrow spaces
  • Very lightweight
  • Easy to carry

➢ Pros

  • Useful for military undercover purposes
  • Successful in mission due to very small size
  • Compact size makes them nearly undetectable

➢ Cons

  • No downside as such

➢ Ideal For: Military Operations

➢ Prices: Well, the prices for these drones vary greatly depending on the brand you choose.

7. Large Combat Drones

Another military drone type is a large combat drone. Now, forget all manned fighter jets and robust attacks through stealth bombs. You will be surprised to know that many countries have replaced them with large combat UAV drones. They are considered scalable to throw air-to-ground missiles and laser-guided bombs, raising the question of the efficiency of manned fighter jets in today’s AI technology landscape.

Large Combat Military Type Drone

However, not all large drones are built as robust jet fighters, some are only designed for military surveillance and communication. The most powerful large combat drone is the Boeing MQ-28 Ghost Bat, developed by Boeing Australia. Its distinctive feature is that it incorporates the most advanced level of AI and has the efficiency to retaliate against the actions of enemy fighters and jets.

➢ Key Features

  • Advanced AI technology
  • Integrated cutting-edge sensor technology
  • Tactical in carrying out early warning missions
  • Offer speed of 200 km/h to 350 km/h on average
  • Robust Airframe

➢ Pros

  • More capable than manned fighter jets
  • Can be used to carry a wide array of weapons
  • High endurance
  • Robust
  • Fast flight

➢ Cons

  • Very explosive and disastrous in operation

➢ Ideal For: Military Surveillance and Communication

➢ Price: These drones are pretty expensive. They may cost somewhere around $2 million or more, depending on the country’s military expenditure.

8. Reconnaissance Drones

Reconnaissance Drones are yet another military-class drone. They are commonly known as the reconnaissance aerial vehicle drones. They are also known as an unmanned military surveillance drone. Unlike the previously discussed unmanned large combat drones, they do not carry a wide array of bombs, missiles, and ATGMs.

Drone with Missile and Bombs

However, they are considered best for battlefield intelligence and surveillance purposes. They come equipped with advanced AI technology. The EADS (European Aeronautic Défense and Space Company) Scorpio 30 is a smaller reconnaissance drone.

Its configuration resembles a traditional helicopter configuration. It is equipped with a two-long blade tall rotor, Hiller-type stabilization paddles, and landing skids. It flies at the top speed of 50km/h with an endurance of two hours.

➢ Key Features

  • Advanced AI technology
  • Long endurance power
  • Battlefield surveillance
  • Robust airframe

➢ Pros

  • Best for strategic military surveillance and communication
  • No training is needed, completely unmanned UAVs
  • Guided by the most advanced level of military artificial intelligence

➢ Cons

  • Any defect in architecture/design/technology can pose the threat of malfunctioning or failure

➢ Ideal For: Military and Surveillance Purposes

➢ Prices: Price varies greatly depending on the country you procure it from.

9. GPS Drones

Till now, we have discussed different types of drones based on wings, size, and commercial, recreational, or military purposes. Now, it’s time to understand something different in terms of functioning and technology. GPS drones are equipped with the most advanced GPS motions to be connected to the powerful signals of orbiting satellites.

Drones With GPS

They are typically used in autonomous flights, direction navigation, and positioning of the flight. These drones act as a navigation and positioning system. They provide crucial information to the pilot or flight control software. Out of many leading manufacturers around the globe, Autel Robotics is the most reliable. They offer the high-performing consumer GPS as well as enterprise drones.

➢ Key Features

  • Stabilize quadcopter flights
  • Identifies the positioning to make the course smooth
  • Return to home feature
  • Create a flight log report that tracks the whereabouts of drones every time
  • Efficient for surveying, agriculture, inspection, and construction

➢ Pros

  • Waypoint navigation-good for drone photographers
  • Map out a large distance
  • Locate the last GPS drone position through its flight log report
  • Remember the take-off position

➢ Cons

  • Nothing as such

➢ Ideal For: Navigation and Positioning Systems

➢ Prices: You may get a GPS drone for somewhere around $200.

10. Racing Drones

Last on the list of the different types of drones is racing drones. Speed is the most crucial part when it comes to drones. Racing drones are known for their agility and high velocity. They usually surpass the top speed of 100/h and fly high beyond the speed of 150/h.

Racing Drones Types

Therefore, they are considered the most thrilling and rapid drones on the planet. According to the report, the XLR V3 Red recorded a breathtaking speed of 360km/h on November 8, 2022. These drones are incredibly light and feature a streamlined, aerodynamic design.

This enables them to achieve impressive speeds and execute precise manoeuvres. Racing drones are commonly flown through obstacle courses, with pilots vying to complete the course in the shortest time possible.

➢ Key Features

  • High velocity
  • Frequently exceed the top speed of 150km/h
  • Incredibly light
  • Highly agile

➢ Pros

  • Navigate the limitless possibilities of the sky
  • With its agility, even the sky feels within reach

➢ Cons

  • Nothing as such

➢ Ideal For: Navigation

➢ Prices: $4275.5 (starting price)

The Bottom Line

These are the 10 different types of drones that are commonly used across various industries, including defense, agriculture, and so on. All in all, drones play a crucial role in mapping out large areas, surveying various operations, or functioning as battlefield intelligence or a fighter jet.

When choosing a drone for a specific purpose, you should have in-depth information about its operation, features, advantages, and limitations. Hopefully, this article has been informative for you and has helped you gain deeper insights into the different types of drones available out there. We believe that you would be able to make an informed decision based on the types outlined in this post.

Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for more such insightful articles!

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