UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE
An unmanned aerial vehicle, also commonly called a UAV, is the latest innovation in pilot-less aircraft. UAVs were first used during the First World War. However, advanced developments in UAVs started around the 1970s. The basic function of a UAV is gathering data. However, it can also be used to carry missiles.
In the future, UAVs will be used for civilian missions like search, rescue, and patrol operations. They will also be used for aerial surveys, pipeline inspection, etc.
Operation of a UAV
The UAV has a computer on board and is monitored by humans on the ground, using industrial wireless technology and RF (radio frequency) signals. The UAV can fly and navigate itself using software instructions that are fed to the system before its launch. The software instructions have the mission plan downloaded into the UAV's software. The operator on the ground can change the mission plan by sending a new set of instructions using the RF signals. The instructions are used to decide the course path, circle target or return to base. The UAV continues to fly even if it loses track of the RF signals.
Types of UAVs
- Backpack UAV: These are small UAVs used in cities to patrol around and protect an object or area, such as a ship at port.
- Civilian UAV: These are used for civilian uses and scientific research. One such UAV was developed to provide cellular telephone service to remote areas.
- Combat UAV: These are specially devised to carry weapons and are designed such that radar cannot detect them.
Advantages of UAVs
- They are simple and conventional aircrafts with advanced technology.
- They are highly robust and reliable systems.
- They are smaller and cheaper than a piloted aircraft designed for similar jobs.
- They can be used in long missions that could exceed a pilot's physical endurance.
- They can be used in places where humans cannot practically operate.
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