Commercial drone companies employ a number of systems to control their drones. As FulcrumAir can attest, these systems range from the pilots themselves to the radio frequencies needed to communicate with the drones in the air. Today, we’ll take a closer look at these systems and how they work together to create a number of interesting and helpful services for a diverse range of businesses and industries.


Commercial Drones Are Controlled by People

Every single commercial drone company can attest to the fact that its products are controlled by people. Of course, this is obvious if you stop to think about how they are constructed, programmed and designed. But, even when we discuss autonomous drones in the following sections, we are still really referring to the men and women who have programmed them to perform certain tasks and maneuvers. In short, all drones are controlled by humans in some form or another.


Commercial Drones Are Controlled by Electronics

Commercial drones are controlled by electronics in a very concrete way. After all, they often have controller boards mounted in them to dictate what actions are taken and how. These are most often led by an antenna attached to the main circuit board, which receives signals from the controller on the ground or a program feeding it information. This antenna communicates the instructions to the other parts of the aircraft, like the propellers, cameras or other systems onboard.


Commercial Drones Are Controlled by Preordained Patterns

Another way in which a commercial drone company controls its products is with preordained patterns or signals. Sometimes these come in the form of algorithms, which are repeating patterns of actions that may change based on emerging conditions. For instance, a drone that patrols a certain area will use geographic information to stay within certain boundaries, preventing it from going off course. Or, a drone may be controlled by a pilot to arrive at a worksite, where it will then perform a specific set of maneuvers, like attaching a bird flight diverter to a powerline, for example.


These are just a few examples of how commercial drone companies control their drones, but they are the main ones. Some drones are actually controlled by sunlight, if you can believe it, but these usually just derive power from the star itself. It is also interesting to consider what drones may be used for in the future or how they may be controlled differently.

One example of emerging technology related to drones is geofencing. Much like the geographic data mentioned above, geofencing is used to create a certain area for the drones to operate within. But, what if the fence could be extended across an entire city so that drones could monitor all areas over a certain period? Or how about giving drones instructions to interact with other drones in specific ways, like trading power or local information? Although these circumstances may not be fully fleshed out yet, they do point to an exciting and prospective future with all sorts of interesting ways to use drones.