The Drone’s Computing Body

These days drones seem flying above all. As we are getting dependent directly or indirectly of the tremendous potential of these flying robots— detailed studying and intelligent approach to them will be fundamental.

The above schematic figure shows us the main components of a UAV and their connection. As we can see from the schematic figure the computing power showed as one of the main internal body part of a drone. We believe that we gonna discuss about the drone’s computing body in a more detailed manner.

Usually these flying machines use their own software driven mind to decide the ways how to perform a task just as they are commanded. Here is their core mind which is tried to be discussed at this section—-Their flight controller.


Flight Controller or Autopilot?

We can easily visualise a UAS (Unmanned Areal System) in another more simplified combinations as :

UAS= A model air craft + Autopilot + a Payload + A software (firmware)


Autopilot = A tiny computer + A GPS + A compass + A barometric altimeter + and Few other sensors


a Payload= A (photo,Video, thermal…) Camera or (LiDAR , Aerial…) system


A software= To program a mission which tell the drone where to fly to. But you can simply do that by clicking a few way points on a the google map interface

using the open source software. A mission can be just as simple as a few way points or they can be slightly longer and more complicated to fly along the edge of some complicated sides of a mission area. what ever your mission is once you programmed it, you simply uploaded to the autopilot system bring your drone to the field and launch it simply by tossing it in the air.

Here we would like to refer to an autopilot as a complete system that enables your drone to fly autonomously to pre-planned, paths way-points as a form of firmware, And a flight controller is just the device that will keep your aircraft stable by computing the best positioning and directions for the whole sytem. However depending on who you talk to these two words used frequently interchangeably.

Drones Flight controllers usually contains one or more CPUs (processor cores) RAM, ROM along with memory and programmable input/output peripherals as components. Where as  autonomous vehicles usually include the components such as positioning systems, sensors, actuators, controllers, cameras, and data repositories that all have different interfaces. In this article we would like to focus on Flight controllers (FC)

The evolution  in a UAV computing capability followed the advances of computing technology which is beginning with analog controls and evolving into microcontrollers, then system-on-a-chip (SOC) and single-board computers (SBC).


Flight controllers

System hardware for small UAVs is often called the Flight Controller (FC), Flight Controller on Board (FCB) or Autopilot (quite sometimes).

The majority of flight controllers also employ sensors to supplement their calculations. These range from simple gyroscopes for orientation to barometers for automatically holding altitudes. GPS can also be used for auto-pilot or fail-safe purposes.

A microcontroller (or MCU for microcontroller unit) is the smallest FC—-a small computer on a single integrated circuit. In modern terminology it has become evolved to a System on a chip or SoC. Microcontrollers are designed for embedded applications, in contrast to the microprocessors used in personal computers or other general purpose applications consisting of various discrete chips.

A system on a chip or system on chip (SoC or SOC) is an integrated circuit (IC) that integrates all components of a computer or other electronic system into a single chip. It may contain digital, analog, mixed-signal, and often radio-frequency functions—all on a single chip substrate. SoCs are very common in the mobile computing market because of their low power-consumption. Their typical application is in the area of embedded systems.


If I just wanted to get flying what do I need?

In this process your drone need to have a brain called flight controller, and as we have seen on the above the flight controller calculates the best position and movement for your drone based on the current situation (position) of the aircraft and (the command received from the pilot if the aircraft is RC— A remotely controlled type).

There is a huge selection out there like commercial ones, professional ones… If you buy a drone the flight controller is there in your new drone, but if you want to change the flight controller or if you need to make your drone by your self, then you have to have more now hows.  For example, the very basic quite popular Chinese DJI made flight controller called NAZA can be an alternative as a beginner.

If I give input or command to my remote controlled quad-copter with my remote control as pitch forward or do what I need to do and all these commands just goes into the flight controller how is exactly that does work?

Flight controller (FC) is a small circuit board of varying complexity. Its function is to direct the RPM of each motor in response to input. A command from the pilot for the multi-rotor to pitch or to move forward is fed into the flight controller, which determines how to manipulate the motors accordingly.

What you have there is, there are some sensors in it. So you are sending some commands to the flight controller and Having that command the controller take that into account together with its own position representation information from the sensors and then does what you asked to do.

They are sensors like gyroscopes, accelerators, GPS units which are being used to tell the microcontroller where it is in the world. For example, if it is tilted or how fast it is turning, and then use that information into account together with the command to make the exact movement as a solution to satisfy the command from the pilot.


What are those sensors aside from our input, that helps the micro-controller to get to know about the position of itself?

The most basic sensors that you have in the most basic set up is the three axis gyroscope (digital) or you could even have a mechanical one. There is a difference b/n mechanical gyroscope and MEMS gyroscope. Because Gyroscopes have evolved from mechanical-inertial spinning devices consisting of rotors, axles, and gimbals to various incarnations of electronic and optical devices. Each exploits some physical property of the system allowing it to detect rotational velocity about some axis. There are three basic types of gyroscope:

  • Rotary (classical) gyroscopes
  • Vibrating Structure Gyroscope
  • Optical Gyroscopes


MEMS (Micro-machined Electro-Mechanical Systems) Gyroscopes:

These are the inertial sensors on your drone which can measure the rotation rate of an object around one linear axis and we have three of them (X-Y-Z). For each axis we have one gyroscope that’s telling you how fast is the drone rotating along the axis—if you are not rotating zero rotating (a position of stability).

MEMS doesn’t know what your pitch is but it knows your rate of pitch. When you put the drone on the ground and plug it in— it takes that position-value as a zero value. But if you were inclining it or rotating it while you plug it in— it would take as rotating or inclining or whatever plugin position you take means zero (stable). So it will try to do that whenever there is a command to be stabled.

With the basic quad copters which having accelerometer (Accelerometers are used in drones for flight stabilisation) you should command to rotate with a certain speed along an axis in order to command to pitch along that axis. So you have to see and correct the levelling all the time manually. Accelerometers measures how fast you are accelerating along an axis or to the ground (along Z).

Systems to control the movement: No matter what a clever jet fighter pilot you may be as a human being it’ll be far from truth to provide a rapid response to UAV systems at the right time.  Forexample controlling the movement of an aircraft may be performed by trained human pilots… however, because of the speed and complexity of flight dynamics of let us say a multi-rotors, human reaction time is too slow to control this movement, or even impossible to control 4 actuators in order to make a quad-copter fly. Therefore, systems are used for such controls. Even in cases where humans can perform these functions, it is often the case that GNC systems provide benefits such as alleviating operator work load, smoothing turbulence, energy savings, etc. That’s why even the past RC air crafts have a second person that is inside the aircraft— the electronic copilot on board of the aircraft. And the copilot has to know how it is flying because it is faster a skilled human pilot, it selects the best move for your drone based on all of these staffs.

NB:   Guidance, navigation and control (abbreviated GNC, GN&C, or G&C) is a branch of engineering dealing with the design of systems to control the movement of vehicles

The open source UAV platforms

There are very open source auto pilots based on Arduino and it is very commonly spread and you can buy it in almost around every corner.

Arduino is open hardware that’s mostly 8-bit autopilot platforms such as ardupilot mega which can be found online very cheaply.


Multi Wii : This have a linear lineage. it has a tiny board with a gyroscope inside it which you can pull it an out and replaced it with an Arduino and plugged in this board in the other one, wrote some software and going fly.


Pixhawk: The other one is Pixhawk as an example the Irish drone that we have at 3D robotics. Modern Autopilots like the Pixhawk require a computer system with a Mission Planning program for planning and setup. However, it is not running the Pixhawk from where in fact it’s running stuff from another project—they have their own firmware for—if you can play around and swap around some parts to another because at the core these boards are actually quite similar interms from what they provide.


The ATmega is a single-chip microcontroller created by Atmel in the megaAVR family. These are various micro controllers like atmega and things from atmega are from different arm vendors in fact. Atmegas are big and they have been used for many years but now are replaced like by CortexM3  32-bit ARM processors and it is said to be like pushing away ATmega out of it when people start to want to do more sophisticated algorithms and spread their deric algorithmic wings.


Open pilot: The other popular one is Open pilot (orange one and black one depending on the vendors). it is an open pilot board in fact that you know another example of an open hardware. Very popular with fpv flyers. First-person view (FPV), also known as remote-person view (RPV)—- flight is a type of remote-control (RC) flying that has grown in popularity in recent years.


PaParazzi UAV: This is an open source project that actually has been out there for quite a while was started 10 years ago when they started to make the out pilots actually fixed wings first and then added quadrotors to the system. What is great about paparazzi is that it is not quad controller or autopilot agnostics but it’s like anything you want to port it to have fun and there is a huge number of different autopilots depending on the application who developed it and they are open hardware. The actual project started with at mega then go to an LPC arm and then to stm32 and there is also port just a pc to run it on Linux directly to completely control. Generally, it is a think pad. Paparazzi’s flexibility is in every aspect. Auto quads and RR UAV PNG’s (Proportional Navigation Guidance) and are open pilot and those that are some of them maybe of various levels we know you’ve got your Linux means and your Ubuntu and then your Debbies and you know as you put more in you can get more out the paparazzi. and it is a kind of more like a gentle. if you comfortable compiling it with your cellphone or something like that you can get a lot more performance out of it.

Firmware and Sensors: Basically you take the whole framware—-the whole paparazzi firmware you downloaded and you configure it to your needs you compile it to the right processor. Running at x86 board is a good example. Its size is 2cmx2cm and having 3 axis accelerometer, 3axis gyroscopes, 3axis magnetometer (to know where the four directions and inclinations as well), barometer and also GPS receivers on board. And this is the basic set of sensors that you need to completely autonomously flight. It should have plugged into the computer and settedup so we can actually start programming this guys get motors spinning and get flying.


We are not  aerospace engineers or we know about this challenging areas through reading and learning from some scientific papers and articles on different websites sites and other paper written resources but mainly we take Wikipedia as our main resource to make the this and other article remember that even-though we did all our possible efforts to avoid the conceptual errors there might be some errors possibly.  where we believe that this article can give the beginners having at least a mind picture reference, and which can encourage them to dig more about the area. Please help us to improve ourselves by leaving your comments about the article just below the article inside the comment box.

The Nexus 800

A turn key unmanned Arial vehicles system—that combines LiDAR and photogrammetry sesors a full GNSS aided inertial navigation system all on one platform.

The nexus 800 also features the first commercially-available UAV system that combines with HYPACK.
The industry leader in surveying and mapping software. This tightly integrated package will bring the user a seamless pipeline that bridges the gap between data product creation.

The nexus 800 UAV Will bring an effective solution to the surveying and mapping community. Seeking a true end-to-end solution leveraging the various expertise from:

HYPACK :  A Xylem Brand and now part of YSI is a Windows based software for the Hydrographic and Dredging Industry. It provides the Surveyor with all the tools needed to design their survey, collect data, process it, reduce it, and generate final products.

Infinite Jib: designs, manufactures and markets Unmanned Aerial Systems for professional, commercial and industrial applications. Known for our innovative design solutions, quality and exceptional customer service.

SBG systems: suppliers of miniature and accurate Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), GPS enhanced Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) based on MEMS sensors.

Velodyne: global leader in Light, Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology of which almost all familiar with LiDAR knows about this company very well.
This UAV combines all the above mentioned technologies into one compact solution. Hi pac hi sweep allows the operator to plan acquire and process the lidar and photogrammetry data on board a high-powered windows pc and high-performance UAV allowing for rapid analysis, Product creation, and export to a variety of cad and Gis formats. The nexus 800 is one complete UAV solution.

Features of the NEXUS 800:

  • Provides a full GNSS aided inertial navigation system with the Ellipse-D INS
  • Visualizes LiDAR return with a 360 degree field of view
  • Acquires LiDAR and Photogrammetric data using our powerful and user-friendly HYPACK-HYSWEEP software
  • Displays Real-Time photogrammetry and Point Cloud viewing
  • Provides Point Cloud and georeferenced photogrammetry correlation via post processing
  • Includes an On-board Windows® PC for rapid data processing and product creation
  • Allows volume computations and data analyses
  • Includes a comprehensive full flight system, training and support

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Latest Drones At 2017

The time is belongs to drones. Every year the capabilities, modernity, and use-abilities of drones getting high tech. Not only in terms of functionalities but also in reasonability of their price in the market. Few years ago it seemed no one could afford to buy a drone, but the more advancement in aeronautics, aerodynamics and robotics technology the more optimized solutions are obtained. The time everybody can utilize drones to ease life is coming ahead.

The following are some examples of the drones with their optimum price while they are cleaver to perform tasks in the unique way that they are intended before they are designed and manufactured.
Enjoy reading! everybody,



DjI Mavic pro:

The more things become modernized the more will they be smaller. We think that might be the reason for the smaller and squeezing in all the tremendous capabilities, and this is the big challenge in modernity. This drone has all the capabilities and functionalities while it is improved in its convenience to be carried. This new 27 minutes flight time drone has a fork stabilized camera, avoids obstacles while flying, and has a follow me functionalities without a bracelet or tracker.
The 24 high-performance computing core dual satellite connectivity, 4 vision sensors and the 4.3 mile ranged transmission system raises it’s agility. In taking off, it uses two vision sensors and can make a connection with up to 20 satellites with its functions of remembering the position which helps to return home by itself. It has a unique precision landing tech to land almost exactly where it took off which all controlled from a touch of a button. Its 4 vision sensors telling itself about what is in-front, below, over, right or left.And this helps it to avoid obstacles. As we know stabilization is the decisive factor for a flying camera Mavic pro has an extremely miniaturised gimbals to keep the entire camera steady. Its has generally a user friendly interface where the user can take few tabs to perform a command. It has 3 tracking shots like spotlight, profile and traits or use tab flight to tap and fly. It has a game-pad size controller to controller for everything which the user can keep it possibly in his or her pocket.




Gopro Karma:

The convenience to carry or using a flying camera depends on its size. Go-pro Karma designed and manufactured considering new drone operators. It has a builtin flight simulator so that users can teach or practice themselves how to fly. It has an integrated one button takeoff making it easy for the users to start to fly easy. It has interesting features like inbuilt automatic shot paths for the user to watch and learn how an optimized great cinematic quality footage can be made without even needing to know how to pilot the vehicle. It really guides the user through the whole product experience. The arms and landing gears are fold-able making it highly profiled to achieve easy and convenient portability.



Yuneec Breeze:

It has highly compacted system can be controlled with iOS or Android devices. It has a total of less than 1 pund. It captures areal photos and videos with stunning 4k ultrahigh definition. Breeze has 5 automated flight modes to capture unique shots.

  • Orbit mode
  • follow me mode
  • Journey mode
  • Selfie mode
  • Pilot mode

No need to be a skilled pilot to take special shots which can be accessible with the click of a button.

It has also direct social media sharing functionalities to share any photo shot or video captured to friends quickly and easily.
Breeze has optical flow and infrared positioning sensors that enables to control to hold in position and to avoid drifting both indoors or outdoors. It has an auto returnig home and auto landing features.





It is as fast as 40 mile per hour and built to be possible running many apps with a super computer on board that lets it do in a way that many other drones can not do.





This is the very small selfie drone which makes them easy to charge with a power-bank weighs under 0.2kg, 0.4mm thick. This is a selfie drone that one can hold the whole body of the drone in to a pocket. It is has easier interface that takes some minutes for someone to fly it. The app can be on a cellphone to make it fly. when it takes off someone tap a little bit and can give a little hand push it upward and release or pressing a button on your controller. It has special modes like real time, continuous, appearance advanced mode or time delayed mode including 1080p video recording too. Someone can easily control it all using cellphone it takes one key to share the photos or videos to a favorite social media.



Quantum Tron Transition Drone:

This drone is from Germany’s quantum system. It is a highly advanced 14 kilogram aircraft combines the long range efficiency of the fixed-wing uav with the vertical take-off ability of a copter drone. This eliminates the need for a runway additional equipment or a human or mechanical catapult requiring very
little ground space transform electrically driven propellers lifted vertically into the air towards the direction of its destination. Shortly afterward the tron enters the transition phase its forward propellers swing down to the vertical position for forward flight while the rear propeller swing back and close into rear-facing points once in cruise flight mode the trunk can travel 160 at speeds up to 80 kms/hr between 70 and 120 minutes with applications that include precision farming site inspection 3d mapping or delivering up to 2 kilograms of needed medical or other supplies the quantum transition drones provides an effective emission-free solution for the future.




Quantix has similar system as quantum tron. Qunatix is belongs to the Aerovironment. It uses its four propellers and takeoff nose up in similar fashion as missile or rocket. Shortly after takeoff the propellers re position for horizontal as a fixed-wing air craft.

Upon landing the quantix transitions back to quad-copter configuration for a vertical touchdown nose point up.
While that is truly awesome quantix mission is what really makes it noteworthy. In years to come food production will need to double to keep up the growing population.
quantix array of sensors can help farmers to pin point the need of their crops far more efficiently allowing for greater food production for performing such an important task and looking totally cool while doing it.
The Aerovironment quantix definitely deserves a stand innovation.



Air Selfie:

This is a great little flying drone camera system that can be connected with your smartphone. It is just a pocket sized camera system can capture a selfie or video by flying up to 20m high with a close or wide angle mode. It has 4 turbofan propellers and a builtin anti-vibration shock absorptive among others. Its 5

megapixel camera which is enough to take a clear and stable image including a special charging case to turn on and start the app on your smartphone. Readiness for your airborne selfie can be assured once you press the lift button.



Shift Drone:

Shift Drone is a special quad-copter eye catching silver colour drone with a shift controller of a one hand operation. It has 13-megapixel tilt enabled camera

streams videos or photos with its 8GB internal flash. It can fly up to 80km/hr with 30 minutes flight time synchronized to a smartphone. They are not released still but hopefully will be soon.




AguaDrone is a fisher drone. It’s system is completely waterproofed and can submerge and helps the fishers to find and even helps to catch fish too. It has the ability to land on fresh water, saltwater, on land with all weather and all environment. Its water proof camera helps to catch actions above and bellow the water surface. The fisher can fly out the cached fish to his or hers chosen spot and release it with a single push of a button.




Many large industry and companies that could benefit from drone technology__ cannot do so, held up by the high acquisition and operational costs with the new Airobotics system. Many of the prohibitive expenses disappear. The airobotics

solution is a complete automated system that can program its drone to fly autonomous missions with no pilot or supervision required. Receiving instructions from the airobotics base the Airobotics drone can fly scheduled or on-demand patrols of site inspection survey and mapping security surveillance and emergency response when the time comes for recharge the airbase can automatically swap the batteries with a fully recharged replacement ensuring an all-round automated system requiring no human interference by utilizing the airobotics system employees can be relieved of these responsibilities and the potential hazards involved with the airobotics air base and its companion drone. We can safely conclude that a game changing innovation has appeared in the drone industry.




SraRaku tried out successfully by a Japan’s Golf resort Camel to deliver extra golf balls for golfers.
The other online online shopping mega company Rakuten has also tried out it at the golf-course bringing not only new golf balls and other equipment to golfers but also to delivering drinks and snacks. Using their smartphones golfers were able to place their

orders right from the course from a dedicated depot workers loaded up their items into a special box carried by the SraRaku drone which phase-fully flew them out to designated spots on the course for retrieval by the golfer nothing like a cool beverage after a few bad hots right?
Rakuten intends to use their SraRaku drones to deliver products to sparsely populated areas and mountainous regions. The company is also considering using their drones in disaster reliefs situations.



Robot Arm drone:

Birds of prey have always had a monopoly on swooping in to grab something and caring it away.
Not anymore now technology has finally caught up with nature with this clown creation, the robot armed drone from Japanese company prodrone thought to be the first large format drone equipped with two internally developed robotic arms.

The robot arm drone was developed to address the increasingly strong demand for drones that can perform specific hands-on operations add to an existing pd6paw drone. This five axis arms provide an incredible amount of versatility because it’s able to carry up to 22 kg pounds for about 30 minutes. The developers envisions a wide range of uses for this groundbreaking creation these include carrying cargo retrieving hazardous materials cutting cables and much more. Through a combination of its hovering, graving and grasping abilities the robot armed drone can even perch like a bird while awaiting further instructions.




These days drones seem flying above all. As we are getting dependent directly or indirectly of the tremendous potential of these flying robots— detailed studying and intelligent approach to them will be fundamental.

The schematic figure above shows us the main components of a UAV and their connection. As we can see from the schematic figure actuators showed as one of the main internal body part of a drone. Here at this section we gonna discuss about actuators in a more detailed manner.

Enjoy reading!



There’s no better product to illustrate the need to manage precise and constantly changing details than actuators—they make everything from pumps to motors to rocket ships move, and are in constant demand from a broad range of industrial manufacturers. Like:

  • Drone manufacturing industries (Electrical actuators)
  • Industrial automation by robots
  • automotive industry
  • Robotic surgery
  • Smart cities and
  • Alle areas where robots are used to automate things.

Multi-purpose actuators and servo-actuators can be used for a variety of high-performance applications and are standard building blocks used in a variety of systems.



MEMS for micro-electro-mechanical systems or microsystems technology (MST) according to European which are computer chips with moving parts are divided in to chips and sensors. MEMS is about making tiny sensors and actuators on integrated circuit chips it’s also about designing those types of sensors and actuators. MEMS have tremendous applications in the electronics world with nano scales. However in drones technology they used to incorporate some important sensors and actuators. For example Vibrating structure gyroscopes are commonly used in radio-controlled helicopters to help control the helicopter’s tail rotor and in radio-controlled airplanes to help keep the altitude steady during flight. They are also used in multirotor flight controllers, since multirotors aren’t aerodynamically stable and cannot stay airborne without electronic stabilization. There fore actuators are the main part in this system.



What are actuators anyway?

In it’s broadest sense, an actuator is anything that can convert a signal into a physical motion or force or they are types of motors that are responsible for moving or controlling a mechanism or system.

More figuratively, actuators corresponds with muscles in animal bodies. Energy is converted by the muscle into motion. For example, the calories that are in food that a person consumes represent controlled energy that can be used by his or her muscles — which act as actuators to create a controlled motion, such as running, kicking a ball, dancing, or reflexing for/againest something.

Generally actuators can be operated by a source of energy, typically electric current, bateries, hydraulic fluid pressure, or pneumatic pressure, and converts that energy into motion. They are mechanisms by which their control systems act upon sorts of environments.

A drone actuator can comprise a DC motor, a gear train and control electronics governed by microprocessors with integrated position feedback. These are electromechanical servo units that precisely position a radial output drive.

According to wikipedia an actuator can be a simple system (a fixed mechanical or electronic system), software-based (e.g. a printer driver, robot control system), a human, or any other input.

From all the above definitions so far actuators as parts of drones receiving electrical data signals from drone’s sensors and producing some motions by converting the energy from its source into mechanical motion in responses with the electrical data signal that they received and triggered by and some parts of this motion in turn acts as a control for a drone’s systems.



The possible motions by actuators

Actuators can create a linear motion, rotary motion or oscillatory motion. That is, they can create motion in one direction, in a circular motion or in opposite directions at regular intervals.



Mostly actuators are classified according to the energy source they use.

Hydraulic: they are used in large robots which require speed when executing repetitive tasks, as well as great stability and mechanical strength for heavy loads. These actuators are classified as hydraulic cylinders, hydraulic motors and hydraulic valves.
Pneumatic: used in small-sized robots and actuator mechanisms that generally require two states. Pneumatic actuators can be broken down into pneumatic cylinders and pneumatic motors.
Electrical: they are the most appropriate for robots that do not require great speed or power, but which do require accuracy and repetitiveness, as is the case of industrial robotics. Their use in this sector is particularly interesting due to their simple installation, ease of control and reliability. Electrical actuators are classified as direct current motors or servomotors, alternate current motors, and step motors.

A servomotor provides more intelligence and features than a simple cc motor, so they are widely used in robotics. A servomotor conventionally consists of a motor, gears, an encoder and a control circuit.

Electric motors controllers can control the speed, the position or the torque of a motor providing electrical power and adequate signal. Since there are different types of electric motors, there are also different types of controllers. Pay attention to the type of controller, the expected features and motor power before buying them.

Aerial robots, or drones, have gear motors that drive the rotational motion of the propellers, conferring flight stability to the robot. They can record images or take photographs through cameras that move linearly, powered by electric actuators.