Event Tech Case Studies, Applications, Technologies
Category: Camera Drone
Due to advancements in technology, drones are growing in popularity with its ease of use. Many of the drones today can be flown by a remote controller or from a smartphone app which can be downloaded from Google Play or the Apple Store. The app allows for full control of the drone. With increased convenience, drones are now becoming an integral part of events, adding an extra dimension to them. The aerial photography and video captured by these drones in the sky create a spectacle and feeling unlike any experienced before.
Resolution and framerate differ from low to high-range models. Resolution can start with 700×560 pixel and go up to 4k. Frame-rates of the current models are usually 30 FPS.
Current Flight times with standard batteries range from 15-28 minutes. Low-end models have maybe 7-9 minutes.
UAV Remote Control System
This is the wireless communication device using the 5.8 GHz frequency band. The drone and the remote control system should already be paired when it leaves the factory.
UAV Remote Control Receiver
The location of the 5.8 GHz receiver technology link button is under the UAV
Range Extender UAV Technology
This is a wireless communication device which operates within the 2.4 GHz frequency. It is used to extend the range of communication between the smartphone or tablet and the drone in an open unobstructed area.
Transmission distance can reach up to 700 meters. Each range extender has a unique MAC address and network name (SSID).
Some of the latest drones out of the box can fly using range to a distance of up to 4.3 miles (7km). Products such as FPV range extenders are very popular which can push the distance even further.
These are the lightest drones available on the market. In order to belong to this category, a drone needs to weigh less than 5 kilograms. Naturally, lightweight drones are not able to do much beyond flying. That’s why they are mostly used as recreational toys or for racing. Their light bodies provide them with great speed and agility in the air.
These drones are heavier than 5 kg, but never weigh more than 200 kg. The light weight drones in this category range between 5 to 50 kg, while the middle weight drones weigh between 50 to 200 kg. These drones are capable of bearing the weight of small objects, like cameras and recorders, and also exhibit reasonably high levels of speed and agility. As a result, these drones are often used by photographers and filmmakers to help them with their work.
Drones which weight between 200 and 2000 kg belong to this category. The extra weight is a result of a much tougher drone body made of durable materials, a powerful set of motors, and a proportionately large set of batteries. These drones are used by companies across a range of industries for transport work. They are capable of handling heavy weights and working for longer periods of time. The downside of all that power is that agility is reduced, as is the speed of the drone.
This category of drones can weigh as much as 2 tonne. These drones usually carry out their activities in the upper limits of the atmosphere where they do not encounter as much wind resistance. High up in the sky, these drones are used for monitoring and surveillance purposes. They keep an eye on large-scale movement of people, animals as well as the weather. They also occasionally help carry out various science experiments by recording changes in atmospheric content and interaction between Earth and other space bodies.
Many of the latest drones have dual Global Navigational Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as GPS and GLONASS. Drones can fly in both GNSS and non-satellite modes. Highly accurate drone navigation is very important when flying and in drone applications such as to build 3D maps, surveying landscape and SAR (Search & Rescue) missions.
When the quad-copter is first switched on, it searches and detects GNSS satellites. High end GNSS systems use Satellite Constellation technology. Basically, a satellite constellation is a group of satellites working together giving coordinated coverage and synchronized so that they overlap well in coverage. Pass or coverage is the period in which a satellite is visible above the local horizon.
The radar technology in the drone will signal the following on the remote controller display;
signal that enough drone GNSS satellites have been detected and the drone is ready to fly
display the current position and location of the drone in relation to the pilot
record the home point for ‘Return To Home’ safety feature
Most of the latest drone have 3 types of Return to Home drone technology as follows;
Pilot initiated return to home by pressing button on Remote Controller or in an app.
Low battery level where the UAV will fly back automatically back to home point.
Loss of transmission between the UAV and Remote Controller with the UAV flying back automatically to its home point.
The latest Mavic Air RTH feature can sense and actively attempts to avoid obstacles during automatic return to home. The Mavic Air RTH obstacle avoidance works as follows if the lighting is sufficient;
The Mavic Air slows down when an obstacle is sensed
It will stop and hover, then fly backward and ascends upwards until no obstacle is sensed.
Next the RTH process resumes and the Mavic Air will return to home point a the new altitude.
Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC)
An electronic speed controller or ESC is an electronic circuit with the purpose to vary an electric motor’s speed, its direction and possibly also to act as a dynamic brake. It converts DC battery power into 3-phase AC for driving brushless motors.
Electronic Speed Controllers are an essential component of modern quadcopters (and all multirotors) which offer high power, high frequency, high resolution 3-phase AC power to the motors in an extremely compact miniature package.
A massive leap in ESC innovation came on the DJI Inspire 1, which uses new sinusoidal drive ESC to replace the squarer wave drive of traditional ESCs. The Inspire 1 goes further by using closed loop torque control and distinct functional redundancy, which adds extra efficiency and reliability to the motors.
The ESC are inside the main frame of the drone and most drone owners won’t need to do anything with these. However, companies such as DJI, Yuneec and Parrot develop drones which can be customized. If you want to customize a drone, then it possible if the manufacturer has Special Development Kit (SDK) for that model. With the SDK, then you could re-program the electronic speed controllers and many other drone components.
The flight controller interprets input from receiver, GPS module, battery monitor, IMU and other onboard sensors. It regulates motor speeds, via ESCs, to provide steering, as well as triggering cameras or other payloads. It controls autopilot, waypoints, follow me, failsafe and many other autonomous functions. The flight controller is central to the whole functioning of your UAV.
Most owner won’t need to do anything or modify the flight controller by reprogramming. If you needed to create a customized solution then a drone with SDK as mentioned about would allow this.
The GPS module often combines GPS receiver and magnetometer to provide latitude, longitude, elevation, and compass heading from a single device. GPS is an important requirement for waypoint navigation and many other autonomous flight modes. Without GPS, drones would have very limited uses. Along with FPV, drones can navigate long distances and be used for exciting applications such as creating 3D images using lidar and photogrammetry sensors.
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is an American standard which provides location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites.
Some of the latest drones have added Glonass, which is the Russian equivalent of GPS. This means your drone is almost guaranteed to find many more satellites to get its positioning from. With both systems, you can fly more accurately and also can fly safer as you know you won’t lose satellite connection.
Most drones allow you to program in a fail-safe home point. This allows the drone to fly back to a point if it loses connection to your remote controller. Most drones have a minimum requirement of satellites before the home point can be set. But always set a home point. When buying a drone, keep an eye out for drones which come with both GPS and Glonass.
Often a standard r/c radio receiver unit. The minimum number of channels needed to control a quad is 4, but 5 is usually recommended. There are many manufacturers of receivers on the market if you are building your own drone.
Depending on your receiver, it may be a loose wire whip or helical “rubber ducky” type.
Antenna are pretty easy to upgrade. Circularly polarized cloverleaf antenna give you further video signal distance and improves the video stability. A very good antenna stops the problem of the multi-path effect and also blind angle.
The standard example of national drone regulation tends to have the following four elements:
1. pilot’s license
2. aircraft registration
3. restricted zones
The requirements of these four elements vary based on drone mass, drone altitude, drone use, and pilot license level. Licensing, registration, and insurance requirements are often nonexistent for recreational small drones; however, for commercial drone usage, a sporting pilot license has become the standard for countries without drone-specific licensing procedures. Airspace is typically restricted around airports or other sites of national importance, and the use of drones over heavily populated areas is often either forbidden or severely restricted. Visual line of sight (VLOS) is often required for all users, restricting the horizontal and vertical distance of drone operation, as well as meteorological and lighting conditions for operation. Liability insurance is required across much of Europe but is not a requirement in the United States. In looking at the variation in these four components of regulations across countries, six broad approaches to national commercial drone regulation become apparent:
1. Outright ban: Countries do not allow drones at all for commercial use.
2. Effective ban: Countries have a formal process for commercial drone licensing, but requirements are either impossible to meet or licenses do not appear to have
3. Requirement for constant VLOS: A drone must be operated within the pilot’s VLOS, thus limiting potential range.
4. Experimental uses of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS): With certain restrictions and pilot ratings, exceptions to the constant VLOS requirement are possible.
Trinidad and Tobago
5. Permissive: Countries have enacted relatively unrestricted legislation in commercial drone use. These countries have a body of regulation that may give operational guidelines or require licensing, registration, and insurance, but upon
following proper procedures it is straightforward to operate a commercial delivery drone.
United Arab Emirates
6. Wait-and-see: Countries have enacted little, if any, drone-related legislation and monitor the outcomes of other countries’ regulations.
Fly at or below 400 feet up until a few weeks ago, pilots flying for fun were required to register any drone weighing more than 8 ounces with the FAA before taking it outdoors. Even without the need to register with the FAA, there are still guidelines that apply.
Keep your UAS within sight
Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports
Never fly over groups of people
Never fly over stadiums or sports events
Never fly near emergency response efforts such as fires
Any non-recreational reason—even when there is no compensation offered. This set of operations requires that you have an FAA Remote Pilot Certificate.
Be at least 16 years old
Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English (exceptions may be made if the person is unable to meet one of these requirements for a medical reason, such as hearing impairment)
Have the physical and mental abilities to safely operate a small UAS
Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam at an FAA-approved testing center
You may also be required to acquire a license if If you fly drones for
Local government agencies
State government agencies
Federal government agencies
The FAA has rules that apply to those who are employed by these entities or are hired by these entities to operate drones.
Government agencies may obtain a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) from the FAA that outlines the specific conditions that they must follow to fly a drone including pilot certification. In many cases, a COA will authorize operations that are outside of Part 107 rules. Alternatively, they may simply choose to operate under Part 107 regulations.
This set of rules is for people who fly drones for government entities (local, state and federal government agencies) regardless if they are employees or contractors.
DJI Innovations is headquartered out of Shenzhen, China and they are the most popular Drone Makers in the industry. They produce the phantom series quadcopters with GPS First Person View. Their products are aimed at both hobbyists and professionals.
Current models include the upgraded DJI PHANTOM 4 PRO, along with the foldable DJI Mavic Pro and the compact DJI Spark.
Yuneec is the world leader in electric aviation. Headquarters are in Kunshan, Jiangsu, China. With offices in North America, Europe and Asia, Yuneec manufactures over 1 million units a year that are sold under OEM/ODM brands. In 2014, Yuneec introduced the world’s first ready-to-fly, out-of-the-box drone. The Typhoon Q500 quadcopter.
In 2015, Yuneec improved the Typhoon by adding a 4K camera and introducing a SteadyGrip that turns the Typhoon into an “Air and Ground Imaging Solution.” Innovative features such as Watch Me, Follow Me, and Dynamic Return Home make capturing the perfect video easier than ever before.
Current models include the Typhoon H 4k , a Hexacopter with Collision Avoidance and the New Yuneec Breeze, a small compact Smart Drone.
Parrot a French company, Headquartered in Paris, is a new entrant into the UAV/ quadcopter market, its main specialty is wireless devices for mobile phones and automobiles (i.e. Bluetooth hands free kits). Surprisingly, it has seized a large part of the consumer UAV/ quadcopter market with the AR.Drone and its successor the AR.Drone 2.0 a mid- range hobby drone with integrated FPV system, controlled by a smartphone app.
New models include the Bebop 2 Drone, an advanced quadcopter with lots of features, the Parrot Disco FPV, a fixed wing drone that has 45 min battery life and FPV goggles. The Parrot Mambo mini drone that comes with a cannon that fires miniature balls and a Grabber claw to move objects through the air.
Autel Robotics has U. S. headquarters in Bothell WA and is a subsidiary of Autel Intelligent Technology Company Ltd. Founded back in 2004 and based in Shenzhen, China. Autel is a company known for producing award winning automotive diagnostic tools and equipment.
Seeing the explosive growth of the drone market worldwide, Autel Robotics was founded in 2014, whose main goal is to research and develop easy-to-use aerial drones for aerial photography and other industries.
They currently offer the X-Star Premium Drone with a 4K Camera, A orange color drone that is in line to compete with the popular Phantom 4 from DJI.
Autel has introduce their first small portable aircraft, The EVO, a compact aircraft packed full of intelligent flight features, equipped with a top quality camera, and foldable for maximum portability.
The Evo isn’t yet available for purchase, but Autel says that it will be priced at about $1,000, which is around what the Mavic Pro is currently going for.
Hubsan is based out of Dong, China and has become well known with its Hubsan X4 models, including the popular entry level Hubsan X4 H107C and the Hubsan H107D FPV X4 Mini RTF Quadcopter,
They also have 2 popular FPV models the H501S with brushless motors and the H502S, both have GPS Positioning, Follow Me, Headless and Altitude hold modes, they also feature a LED display built into the controller.
Popular models and reasonable prices have helped make it a household name in the drone hobbyist market.
Blade a hobby product distributor based out of Champaign, Illinois and is owned by Horizon Hobby, they manufacture the Blade range of Quadcopters. They offer some enhanced features such as SAFE to make flying their craft easier and safer. From helicopters to multi-prop drones, Blade has many options available, its most popular model is the Blade Nano QX, a great beginner quadcopter. For photography check out the Blade CHROMA Drone. A new model the Blade ZEYROK Drone now available.
The Blade Inductrix FPV is a popular model based on the Tiny Whoop racing craze, Now available in PRO and PLUS models. It is the perfect beginner FPV drone designed for indoor flying.
JJRC (JJRC Toy Co. Ltd) is another Chinese toy manufacturer making robots, toy guns and remote-controlled vehicles of all types. They really have a very extensive collection of toys, the majority are remote-controlled kid and hobby drones.
The JJRC H36 Mini Quadcopter and the JJRC H20 Nano Hexacopter are some of the most popular. They are one company constantly presenting new models such as the JJR/C H47 Elfie a Foldable Selfie Drone with a unique one hand G-sensor remote control and the JJRC H31 Waterproof Drone.
Syma Toys is located in Shantou, China. This drone maker is best known for its remote controlled helicopters, though they have recently broken into the drone market with the highly popular X5C. The Upgraded version X5C-1 Explorer is one of Amazons best selling quadcopters. Other popular models include the small Syma X11 mini-quadcopter and the Syma X5SW Plus Quadcopter Drone with WiFi FPV Camera.
UDI RC Toys is a manufacturer receiving good reviews for their products. Also based in China, they make an entire line of radio controlled craft from cars and boats to helicopters and quadcopters.
Popular models include the UDI U818A RC Quadcopter and the new UDI U818A WiFi FPV RC Quadcopter Drone with HD Camera. The latest upgrade is the U818PLUS WIFI FPV Drone, which offers a Wide-Angle HD 2MP Camera and a 15 Min Flight Time. Also has Altitude Hold, Headless Mode, along with One-Button Take-off And Landing.
Walkera has a drone factory located in Guangzhou City, China. Walkera is a drone manufacturer that offers a range of drone models, originally selling quadcopters like the QR LadyBird V2 Mini Quadcopter and Walkera QRX 350, but now seem to be concentrating more on Racing Drones.
Cheerson Hobby Technology Company Limited was established in 2011. They are based in China in the Guangdong province. Cheerson Hobby specialize in the design and manufacture of many kinds of remote-controlled toys, in particular, the Cheerson CX-20 Drone, which is a mid level GPS drone with Camera Gimbal support for semi-professional aerial video production.