UAV models

UAVs, multicopters, fixed-wing drones and VTOL drones provide enormous value-added for surveying and 3D data gathering

Multicopters, fixed-wing drones and VTOLs are in the ascendancy

Drones in general have pushed themselves to the forefront of surveying and 3D data gathering in a spectacularly comprehensive way through the use of cameras for photogrammetry. A wide range of industries and applications have been opened up through the use of the right cameras and sensors on a drone, be that a multicopter, a fixed-wing drone or VTOL, and this is continuing unabated. Drones are tapping and creating more and more new markets. In the field of surveying they have now become firmly established.

What is a multicopter, a fixed-wing drone and a VITOL in general terms?

The multicopter and the fixed-wing drone make up the majority of drones that are currently flying by means of remote control, and their precise name is UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). Drones are automated or even autonomously flying devices, as with aeroplanes controlled by the human hand. Essentially, drones, or UAVs, refer to nothing more than unmanned flying equipment. Multirotor drones are advancing toward the performance levels and cost-efficiency of helicopters due to the sensors becoming ever lighter and smaller, since this progress has an extreme impact on flying times – up to 150 ha for small areas.

The most-recognised drone in the sky – The multicopter

A multicopter is essentially a levitating platform which uses 3, 4, 6 or 8 rotors – also referred to colloquially as “propellers” – mostly arranged on one plane, which are directed vertically downwards to generate lift Forward propulsion is generated in flight mode by tilting the plane of the rotors. The number and arrangement of rotors stipulates the respective name of a specific multicopter type – Here are the different models: tricopters, quadrocopters, hexacopters, octocopters and X8s (4 rotors on 2 planes). The quadrocopter is certainly the most well-known. However, we generally use octocopters for reasons of performance, stability and safety, because they have all the relevant components (rotors, control system, GPS, compass, batteries) redundantly on-board, and they stay in the air and remain controllable in the event of failure. A multicopter can be deployed with great flexibility and offers much more than conventional recording methods, since users can fly the drone at different heights and, above all, at different speeds. Furthermore, a multicopter enables game-changing image angles and views. Even “overhead” images (images from the bottom to the top) are effortlessly possible thanks to our own special designs. The relevant sensor for the occasion is attached to the multicopter.

Fixed-wing drones – The aeroplanes amongst the drones

A fixed-wing drone is an aeroplane-like aircraft, which functions mechanically like all known aeroplanes. The aeroplane has a special wing shape which produces forward motion by means of propulsion from an engine, turbine or rotor. As air flows past the contact surfaces, a fixed-wing drone experiences lift once a given speed is reached. If necessary, a fixed-wing drone can fly at high speeds and can cover long distances since it can stay in the air for long periods of time due to its efficient design.

VTOL – A hybrid of a multicopter and fixed-wing drone

A VTOL is a mixture of the two types of drone we got to know in more detail above. VTOL stands for “vertical take-off and landing”. In terms of its behaviour, it lifts off the ground perpendicularly, ascends and also lands like a multicopter, but flies like a fixed-wing drone.

A VTOL therefore combines the advantages of both varieties in one flying device. This is usually facilitated by a particular rotor arrangement or through tilted rotors. In the case of the latter variety, the tilt rotor drones, the rotors always assume the necessary position to set the flight direction during a flying session by means of stepless tilting. Unfortunately, these flying systems are highly complex in terms of technology and flight control and currently still very expensive when compared with multicopters and fixed-wing drone systems.

Technical advantages of a multicopter, a fixed-wing drone and a VTOL compared to the conventional use of helicopters and aeroplanes

The gaping hole between the aircraft traditionally used for surveying, such as helicopters and aeroplanes, is gradually being reduced by drones, such as multicopters, fixed-wings and VTOLs. For smaller areas (below 1–2 square kilometres), low flying heights and narrow or complex terrain, drones are already far superior in terms of efficiency and precision. If the right type of drone is used in an application or project-specific way, perfect results are achieved and, in many cases, this is considerably more efficient than with manned helicopters and aeroplanes.

Professional multicopters, fixed-wing drones and VTOL drones are unbeatably flexible and safe!

UAV deployment using autonomous flying supported by GPS waypoints is extremely reliable and offers the opportunity for regularly flying over exactly the same areas by means of saved routes for flights in order to capture the slightest changes. More than anything else, the autonomous flying of drones is safe, because pilots only intervene in the event of emergencies and human errors are therefore almost ruled out. In addition to potential pre-planning (e.g. flight routes) by back office staff, drone deployments are also highly flexible in the field in terms of logistics, location and deployment times. Owing to their size, drones can fit effortlessly into cars and, thanks to our special transport boxes, take the space of a suitcase in an aeroplane.

All the advantages mentioned support the case for using UAVs in dense conurbations such as Germany / Europe; especially the multicopters used by us! Precision, flexibility, safety, efficiency and above all professional use of multicopters are the reason why our consistently satisfied customers always go for us as their full service provider for UAVs.

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