Classification and Application of Drones

Classification and Application of Drones (UAV)


Introduction to Drones

  • The term of Drone is used for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle(UAV). It is an aircraft or flying machine without a human pilot aboard. In the previous post we have studied working principle of drones.
  • In this post,  different types of drones and their application are presented
  • Drone is popular for Photography, aerial Mapping and  surveillance etc
  • The  classification of ‘Drones’ can be decided as per their aerial platforms
  • CFD as a  flow modeling technique will help for design optimization of drones in different applications.

Classification of Drones

Drones for Aerial Platforms

Based on the different aerial platform, there are following four major types of UAV (drone)

  • Single Rotor Drone (SRD)
  • Multi Rotor Drone (MRD)
  • Fixed Wing Drone (FWD)
  • Fixed Wing Hybrid  Vertical Take off Landing (VTOL)

Types of Drones UAVs

Detailed classification of Drones

  • As per construction and applications, drones have several types


Multi Rotor Drone

  • Multi Rotor Drone uses multiple propellers (blades) for navigation and flying in space. Such drones have common uses for photography and video surveillance.
  • Multi rotor drones are categorised based on number of propellers
  • Tricopter: Three Propeller Drones
  • Quadcopter: Four Propeller Drones
  • Hexacopter: Six Propeller Drones
  • Octocopter: Eight Propeller Drones

Fixed Wing Drones

  • Fixed Wing drones have wings in place of propellers just like an airplane. They cannot hover at one place
  • They fly on the set course till their energy source is functional.

Single Rotor Drones

  • As the name suggests, a Single rotor drone (SRD) consist of  only one rotor with a small tail to control it direction
  • This drone is similar to a helicopter but carried less load

single rotor drones

Fixed Wing Hybrid VTOL

  • VTOL stands for Vertical take Off & Landing. Fixed Wing Hybrid VTOLs uses propeller(s) to lift off and wings for gliding.
  • Multiple configurations are used for fixed wing hybrid drones
  • Quad-copter is the most popular fixed wing drone and it consist of the following mechanical and electrical parts
      1. Propeller or Wings
      2.  Body or Chassis
      3. Landing Gear
      4. DC motors (prime mover)
      5. Battery
      6. Flight Controller
      7. Electronic Speed Controllers
      8. Transmitter
      9. Receiver
      10. GPS Module
      11.  Application modules: example Camera


Applications of Drones

They are  a variety of uses of drones in different industries.Sonme popular applications were military and surveillance

  • Military
  • Space Research
  • Product Delivery
  • Agriculture
  • Search and Rescue
  • Internet Carrier

Applications of Drones UAVs

Military Drones

  • During wars, drones used to drop bombs on the enemy zone
  • Military drones is useful for surveillance, reconnaissance, aerial photography, target tracking, and counter air threats
  • Drones reduces threat of killing of pilot or military personnel

Space Research

  • Many space research institute like NASA use drone for space applications
  • Following NASA’s drone landed on the surface Mars for observation of lands and wind flows


Food and Product Delivery

  • The food and product delivery industry is one of the most popular
  • The most critical factor that is considered of drone industry is delivering food products through congested roads and buildings

Applications of Drones for Agriculture

Drones are used for multiple applications in farming

  • Surveillance of agriculture: for soil and crop monitoring
  • Seed Planting
  • Spraying pesticides
  • Irrigation Monitoring and Management.
  • Real-Time Monitoring

For some crops which are not easy for manual spraying, in such cases drone-based spraying is useful for farmers


  • Drones for surveillance of farming land or carrying of farm equipment

Search and Rescue (SAR) Operation

  • Drones are useful for in search and Rescue (SAR) operations in remote and mountain areas
  • They can also patrol larger areas as compared to an individual

Advantages of Drones (UAV)

There are some advantages of Drones/ UAVs such as:

  • Quality air Imaging
  • Accessibility to hard to reach areas
  • Reduced risk or Safe work
  • Reduced human effort
  • Precise Operation
  • Reliable operation
  • Saves time of people

Disadvantages of Drones/ UAVs

The disadvantages of Drones/ UAVs includes:

  • Privacy becomes vulnerable if wrongly used.
  • Safety of people/ equipment depends on perator skills
  • Laws for Drones are not so specific yet. Still Evolving.
  • Shorter Lifespan
  • Can be easily hacked

Scope of CFD Modeling for design of drones

  • Design of drones comprises several subjects like fluid mechanics, aerodynamics and turbo-machinery, electrical and electronics parts.
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) helps in design of propellors and determination of thrust
  • The performance of drones are tested using experiments and that data is useful for CFD simulation of drone for different industrial applications.


  • An example of CFD modeling of a quad-copter is shown below. Stream lines present the flow pattern around the drone.
  • The circular rings around the propellors helps to control the air flow up and down ward
  • Effect of different geometric and flow parameters we can understand using CFD analysis to optimize the design of drones


  • Drones have a variety of applications in photography, surveillance, agriculture and transporting food in remote or difficult area of cities and military purposes.
  • The application of drone depends on government policy, cost of drones and public interest
  • Many times, the use of drones are restricted by government

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