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Growing up, we had a fascination with airborne objects like butterflies, kites, paper planes and aeroplanes. 

This passion for flying objects extended to modern-day drone technology. 

Drone technology embraces kites, paper planes aeroplanes but from a technical viewpoint. 

If you have ever seen a UFO in the sky and wondered what it could be, chances are they are automated systems that run on drone technology. 

The technology used to develop drones covers a wide range of features.

Different drones use different but slightly similar technologies. 

Drone technology is constantly evolving as new innovations and big investments are bringing in more advanced drones to the market every few months.

What is a Drone?

Oftentimes you will hear people talking about unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the sky. This is the general term for drones.

A drone is simply a flying robot.

It is also known as a cruising aircraft controlled remotely.

Technologically advanced drones can be remotely controlled or flown on their own through software systems after they have been launched into flight by hand. 

Drones have a very extensive history. The first developed drones were used in the military. Nowadays, advanced drone technology allows a variety of uses of drones. 

Types of Drones

Drones come from different species. They are categorized according to their application, their wings and their body structure.

According to their body structure

  • Ready to Fly (RTF). These are drones that you can fly immediately after buying and do not need further assembling of parts. 
  • Bind N Fly (BNF). In these types of drones, an experienced flyer must have a transmitter to bind it to the drone and fly. 
  • Almost Ready to Fly (ARF). These drones will mess further assembling parts before they are ready to fly.

According to their mission

  • Civil. These drones use its technology for general purposes. A civil drone will take photographs, survey land or be used in the agricultural field.
  • Combat. These drones are used to launch attacks on enemy lands. They look like small planes and are fitted with missiles. 
  • Logistics. These drones are used to deliver goods to customers. Amazon and Domino’s use drone technology to deliver their pizzas. 
  • Reconnaissance. These drones have artificial intelligence as the state of the art technology. They are programmed to run specific tasks after which they slowly and safely land themselves.
  • Research and development. These drones are used to collect data in the air such as weather reports or fetch Internet connection. 

According to the types of wings

  • Single rotor. Single rotor drones operate more like helicopters, only that they move vertically. They are made of one single propeller which is strong and can change directions.
  • Multirotor. They are the most common types of drones. A multirotor drone may have 3-8 rotors. They are easy to use and are preferred for delivery of cargo.
  • Fixed wing. These drones look like airplanes with their rigid wings. These drones are quite expensive and require good aerodynamic technology to launch them into the air, control their directions and land them. 

What is Drone Technology?

Drone technology is the development of the aerodynamics of a drone, from the materials used in their manufacture of the physical UAV, rotors, software, connectivity and the chipset system, which make up the brain of the drone. 

Drone companies are in a constant overdrive to embrace the best technology in developing their drones. 

Phantom 3 currently uses very advanced drone technology.

When we look at drone technology, there is a specific state of the art technology features that catch the eye.

  1. Drone material

A typical unmanned aircraft is made of light carbon fibre composite materials to reduce weight and increase manoeuvrability.

This composite material strength allows drones to cruise at extremely high altitudes.

  1. Camera

Drones come fitted with infrared cameras to withstand heat from the sun and to allow monitoring of the geographical location remotely on the ground.

The cameras are used to take pictures and provide guidance.

  1. Rotors

Rotors are wing sets used in drone technology.

Rotors act as propellers which make the drone airborne.

Different types of drones have a certain number of rotors. Rotors help in balancing the momentum of the drone. 

  1. Global Positioning System (GPS)

A GPS tracking system is installed in a drone to provide a geographical location and to enable the ground control system where the drone is at and where it is moving to. 

  1. Connectivity 

This refers to the means by which the user connects the drone.

This could be through a smartphone or a tablet.

Connectivity allows the user to view the landscape of the drone from a bird’s point of view. 

  1. Accelerometer and Altimeter 

An accelerometer helps in feeding data to the drone comprising details relating to the stone’s speed and direction.

An altimeter is used to give the altitude at which the drone is flying.

It updates the height of the drone.

This allows the drone to land slowly and safely at the target location.

How Does Drone Technology Work?

Drones have a simple working principle. 

An unmanned aerial vehicle system has two parts, the drone itself (aircraft system) and the control system. 

On the aircraft side, drones are made up of very lightweight material because they do not carry an actual pilot.

These light composite materials allow for easy manoeuvrability and for the drone to fly at high altitudes. 

Drone technology allows the utilisation of GPS and laser, infrared cameras and targeting systems for guidance technology. 

The nose of the unmanned aerial vehicle is where all the sensors and navigational systems are present.

The rest of the body is full of drone technology systems since there is no need for space to accommodate humans.

Some drones are designed to perform everything else independently once they are launched into flight by hand, while other drones are controlled by remote ground control systems (GSC).

The control system (Unmanned Aircraft System, UAS) can either involve an interface with an actual operator on the ground or an artificial intelligence system that is programmed to operate independently with specific goals in mind.

What are Drones Used For?

Drones are used in a variety of fields. 

Military

Drones have been commonly used in wars, over the past years to this day, by the military to spy on enemy lands and launch attacks on them. Drones have been used by the US army to conduct reconnaissance on Afghanistan and aid in any war attempts. 

Media

Journalists use drone technology to collect information and live footage of places they cannot go and that have been affected by war or natural disasters this information are then shared to the news centre through the drone’s connected device.

Surveying

Drone technology is used in land and environment surveys in a given place. Cameras are used to take pictures of the overall outlook of a landscape and the spotting of any illegal activities such as poaching in the environment. 

Construction

Advanced drone technology is one day seen to design drones to help in building structures.

Rescue operations

Drones have the ability to access very discreet areas without being noticed. This can help in the search and rescue mission for military soldiers or hostages.

Agricultural activities

Drones are used to spray pesticides on large fields of agricultural land.

Logistics

Businesses apply drone technology in managing their delivery services like delivering parcels or letters at short distances. 

Games and sports

World Olympics Sports apply drone technology to take photographs and film gaming events such as swimming, snowboarding and skiing.

Recreation

Drones are used by hobbyists to capture videos and take photographs by flying them remotely or by programming the drone with artificial intelligence. 

What Companies Are Using Drones?

Boeing Company

This company has been long-running in drone technology.

It developed the Phantom Eye drone which uses very advanced technology and creates weapons used in war.

General Atomics

This company developed the Predator drone.

This drone is used in search and rescue missions, communication relays and attacks. 

Lockheed Martin

This corporation developed the Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) which was used for surveillance and reconnaissance. 

Skycatch

This is the leading manufacturer of civilian drones used in aerial viewing technology such as taking photographs and cinematography. 

3d robotics

This company makes drones for mining and construction, engineering and government projects. 

Matternet

This is the first company in the world to authorize urban aerial drone delivery services.

This technology platform delivers products to customers by drones. 

How Businesses Use Drone Technology

Amazon

Amazon came up with the idea of delivering packaged goods to their customers’ geographical location.

Although this has not yet come to pass due to the restrictions by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow drones to fly, it is something they are going to embrace.

Kaspi films

This is a company that has used drone technology to run filmed commercials for Toyota and real estate companies.

The drones here give you an outlook of the car or house you are going to buy from a bird’s point of view. 

What are the Benefits of Drone Technology in Kenya?

Low human risk

Drones can access places that are prone to war discreetly.

This is beneficial to human beings because they do not have to advance into those territories themselves and risk losing their lives.

Fast

Available drone technology allows you to set the drone to run at a given speed.

This makes the drones to be fast.

Efficiency

The ability of drones to process data, access discreet areas and operate at given speeds makes them efficient for use in various fields.

What are the Disadvantages of Drone Technology in Kenya?

Short flight time

The available drones run a short flight time of around an hour.

This is inconvenient when someone wants the drone to be airborne for a long while in order to complete the tasks.

Wireless problems

This means that the connectivity of the drones and their connected device gets lost at certain altitudes and in certain locations. 

Privacy

People get spied on with drones.

This invades people’s privacy.

Drone collision with people

A drone flying at low altitudes can bump into people and may cause injuries when someone gets in contact with the drone rotors. 

Collision with structures

Drones can also bump into structures and buildings and cause damage to property.

Transport criminal goods

Since drone technology is designed to operate discreetly, criminals use it to transport illegal products such as drugs.

Dangerous proximity to aircraft

Available drone technology allows drones to fly at very high altitudes.

This makes them go as high as aeroplanes.

It can be dangerously fatal when a drone gets caught in the wings of a helicopter. 

Bad weather

The computerised system of drones gets damaged easily by bad weather by rain, making them lose functionality.

Difficult operation system

Drone technology is quite complex and the operating system needs to be developed and controlled by skilled engineers. 

What’s the Future of Drone Technology?

There are many technological advancements and improvements surrounding drones that keep coming up every day.

Since many businesses are leaning on drone technology to facilitate the movement of their products to customers, drones that can meet these needs are being developed and introduced into the market.

The military relies on new technology to design drones that can fly over high altitudes, for a long time and that can withstand adverse climatic conditions.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently put up restrictions on the use of drones.

This has limited many business operations and activities.

It is however anticipated that more unmanned aerial vehicles will be allowed to fly in the sky. 

FAQs on Drone Technology: Everything You Need to Know

1. What are the benefits of drone technology?

The benefits of drones include:

Saving lives

Support law enforcement

Agriculture management

Media access in hard to reach places like warring zones or hostage situations where filming gets risky.

2. What are the future uses of drones?

The future of drones is:

Aerial Photography

Agriculture

Search and Rescue

Construction

Shipping and Delivery

Science and Research

3. What industries use drones?

The industries using drones are:

Agriculture

Chemicals

Construction

Mining

Insurance

Delivery

Filmmaking

Real Estate

Event Photography /Weddings

Golfing

Land Mapping and Surveying

Stock Photography and Video Stock

Online Drone Courses

Roof Inspectors

4. Is drone technology a good thing? /Are drones a good business?

YES, drones are a good business investment.

Because of the strict regulations many investors aren’t opting for drones for now.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t stiff competition in the drone industry in Kenya.

5. What are the pros of drones?

The pros of drones are:

Security

Precision

Easily to deploy.

6. What are the cons of drones?

The cons of drones are:

Safety

Privacy

Registration is lengthy

Subject to regulation and heavy scrutiny

Easy to get licenses suspended for breach of laws

Have to keep up with the laws for and against drones in Kenya

Lack of understanding of why drones are important in Kenya and why charge a lot

The qualifications for drone pilots aren’t clear. May lead to the influx of drones that don’t have proper pilots.

Drone technology is a growing industry in Kenya like all technology industries, we haven’t embraced technology fully.

7. How much does a drone pilot get paid?

Depending on your expertise, you may earn up to 10M a year or more.

8. Are drone jobs in demand?

Yes, drone jobs are in demand in Kenya because the experts are few.

9. How much does drone school cost?

Drone schools cost from 50k or more depending on what you learn or depending on a school.

10. How do I start a drone business?

Start a drone business by:

Getting certified first

Understanding drones and how they work

Market your school and explain to students why having drone knowledge is crucial

Have a financial plan with costs of business operations and profit projections

Include or offer other technology services like AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality) AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology within your school to make more profit.

Choose a business location

Hire the best teachers/instructors in your school

Decide on a business structure do you want to go solo, partners or LLC?

The business structure you choose affects your profits and how you run a business, choose wisely.

11. What qualifications do I need to fly a drone?

Must be 18/at least 18 years old and have a company registered in Kenya

Have a Remote Operator Certificate at 80k then renewed at 50k yearly.

Flying time of 40 hours or more.

12. Is the drone certification test hard?

Yes, the drone certification test is hard like all exams, study.

13. How long does it take to be a drone pilot?

The length of time it takes for one to become a drone pilot is 4 -6 weeks, depending on whether you ace the exams/tests, the quickness of processing your certificates.

14. How much should I charge for drone photography?

Charge 50k plus per photo for drone photography.

15. How do drones get clients?

Drone businesses get clients by:

Decide a niche

Have a business plan

Have a website to advertise your drone business

Get the licences required before diving into drones

Know and understand your client’s needs

Keep in the know about drones and the technology industry as a whole

Engage in forums with drone users and Facebook groups

Bring your business cards to events and fairs/exhibitions to help your would-be customers keep you in mind when they need drone services

Have a referral program or loyalty program where your customers earn money for recommending your drone services.

16. How much do realtors pay for drone footage?

Realtors pay 10k per drone footage and more depending on the size of the property, the estate where the property is located, the details you want and the time it takes.

It’s best to learn how to film properties to advertise your houses instead of paying others. Plus, you can turn your passion for drones into a profit as a realtor.

17. Who needs drone shots?

The people in need of drone shots include but aren’t limited to:

Tourists/Tourist Boards

Wedding Venues

Roofing Companies

Landscaping Companies

Construction Firms

Energy Companies

Farmers

Realtors

Resources Related to Drone Technology Everything to Know

How to Start a Drone Business That Pays 100M+ Shillings a Year in Kenya

How to Make Money With Drones/Drones Business Ideas

Drone Business Plan in Kenya

How to Start a Drone Photography Business in Kenya [Make 60k/Photo]

How to Start a Drone Inspection Business in Kenya

Technology keeps on coming with new ways in which humans and machines can live together. 

If engineers can keep on using new technology to design drones, then society is likely to benefit in more ways than one. 

When building drones, much emphasis is put on the aerodynamics of the drone and its entire frame.

The control system is usually basic but adjusts to the technology used. 

Drones are becoming popular and so is the demand for drone pilots.

Kenya lags behind in the tech field where adoption of technology is slow.

We may call ourselves digital but there’s room for improvement not only for drone technology but other technology innovations like AI, VR, or AR, Robotics and others. We’re going to get there.

Do you love drones?

Are you also a believer that when we embrace technology, we may deal with half the unemployment rates?

Do you want to get into the drone industry but are afraid it may not make a profit for you?

Are drones beneficial? Have you heard about drones? What’s your take on them?  


stephanie

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