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5 Qualities of Drones for Obstacle and Collision Avoidance

When flying drones, there is always a risk of damage caused by collision. Everyone, from military operators to amateur enthusiasts, needs to fly carefully to avoid this since drones tend to be lightweight and fragile.

To avoid damage, drones also have different methods to prevent accidental collisions. These range from open-source drone collision avoidance software to onboard cameras and sensors.

This article will take a quick look at different qualities that let drones avoid obstacles. They work differently and have advantages that make specific units better than others. Additionally, we’ll also take a look at how operator’s pilot drones at long distances. 

How Obstacle Avoidance Works in Military-Grade Drones

For military-grade drones, obstacle avoidance is one of many built-in safety features. They can scan their surroundings in real-time using drone obstacle avoidance algorithm software and special sensors.

To utilize collision avoidance, drones first need an accurate picture of their position relative to the obstacles. These vary for both indoor and outdoor drones.

Outdoor drones can rely more on GPS signals, which can be limited for indoor drones. The latter is more likely to rely on high-resolution sensors with fast refresh rates to give accurate positioning data.

5 Qualities of Drones for Obstacle and Collision Avoidance

Obstacle avoidance combines different technologies to help keep the drone airborne. You’ll be able to find them in the best obstacle avoidance drone 2022 has to offer and more.

Here are five qualities drones have when it comes to obstacle and collision avoidance:

1. Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM)

Drone collision avoidance sensors aren’t the only things that allow military-grade drones to detect and avoid obstacles. Sensors gather data which can then be processed through simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM).

SLAM works by first building a map of the surrounding area, then using and refining it as the drone navigates. Drones also need to take measurements while moving constantly.

2. Avoidance Algorithms

Military-grade drones also use unique algorithms to predict their safest flight path. The algorithm is a series of formulas drones use to solve detection problems. However, this also means that the drone’s sensors depend on the algorithm. As a result, any bugs or poorly written code make it especially prone to crashes or flight errors.

3. Obstacle Avoidance Sensors

Drone collision avoidance sensors aren’t simply one specific type of sensor. Instead, drones take advantage of different types of sensors to get as much reliable and accurate information as possible.

Here are the different types of obstacle avoidance sensors drones use:

  • Stereo vision – Stereo vision sensors function like 3D sensing in the human eye. These sensors depend on the number of identifiable corresponding pixels.
  • Infrared – Drones can also utilize infrared reflection to detect obstacles. Onboard receivers pick up reflected infrared light and process it as data to map the surrounding environment.
  • Time-of-flight sensors – Time-of-flight sensors are comprised of other sensors that include the lens, the interface, and the light source. Because it can capture intense information, it has a higher frame rate than other methods.
  • Ultrasonic sensors – Ultrasonic sensors utilize high-frequency sounds to detect obstacles. The sensors monitor the time it takes for the sound to bounce back and use it to map out its surroundings.

4. Sensor Data Fusion

Sensor fusion is a method that utilizes various drone collision avoidance sensors in one platform. It can provide more accurate data than a single type of sensor or different sensors working separately.

Sensor fusion is also known as multi-sensory data fusion. By combining different sensors, the onboard software can send feedback to the controller for processing.

5. Flight Controller

The flight controller receives obstacle avoidance data from sensors after scanning and mapping.

Flight controllers utilize collision avoidance algorithms and interpret the data to fly the drone. Their instructions extend to increasing or decreasing elevation and stopping or hovering.

How are Military-Grade Drones Controlled at Long Distances?

Different types of military-grade drones are controlled differently. For example, pilots operating fixed-wing UAVs rely on satellites for navigation once the drone leaves the line of sight. Before that, pilots control landings and takeoffs locally. 

Meanwhile, quad-rotor or quadcopter drones can be operated using a remote controller or a pre-programmed flight plan. The cheapest drone with obstacle avoidance capabilities can include both options.

There are a few ways that military-grade drones can be controlled during long-distance flights: 

  • Remote control – Drones can send video footage to their respective remote controllers using radio signals. These signals can weaken over distance, limiting certain drones to a specific range.
  • GPS systems – While military-grade drones can operate without GPS systems, these are often used for positioning over large distances. Data is relayed across communications and GPS satellites in real-time to ensure accuracy.
  • Pre-programmed flight – Drones can carry out pre-programmed flight routes depending on available maps and data. Both are essential in how to make obstacle avoidance drone software ready for flight testing.

How are Military-Grade Drones Used?

In military and defense, drones are used for surveillance and mapping to counterterrorism operations. Outside of aerial photography and videography, there are many applications for military-grade drones with drone obstacle avoidance algorithm software.

These applications include the following:

  • Architecture and construction – Construction and architecture firms rely on drones for faster surveying and mapping. Additionally, drones can also navigate otherwise inaccessible for safer inspection.
  • Power line inspection – Drones can reach power lines and pylons that would be dangerous for linemen to inspect. With customizable attachments like robotic arms, they can also perform emergency repairs.
  • Environmental monitoring – Drone technology has dramatically increased ecological conservation efforts worldwide. Pre-programmable flight routes allow for automated patrols and data collection.
  • Delivery services – Commercial drones are also seeing more use in making deliveries. While shorter flight times limit their operation, drone collision avoidance sensors can help prevent accidents and optimize flight time.

The Bottom Line

Military-grade drones are sophisticated equipment, but they are still prone to accidental collisions that result in damage. To avoid damage, drones have different built-in ways to prevent accidental collisions.

Obstacle avoidance is a system combining different technologies to help keep the drone airborne. While relatively new, it provides drones with more flexibility, making them all the more essential.

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