What are FPV Drones?

What are FPV Drones?

What revolutionized the world of cinematic videography? Got you obsessively hooked to those coverage of Drone Racing League while bringing in a quantum leap in the drone industry?!

FPV drones must have crossed your mind, didn’t it?

Image Credits: DRL

Image Credits: DRL

Intrigued by the technology but overwhelmed by the resources at your disposal? We got you covered as we provide you with every detail that will help an enthusiastic rookie pave his/her way into the realm of FPV drones. A knowledge capsule transporting your passionate self to a surreal state of FPV drone technology. Let’s go down this rabbit hole, together, shall we?

Well, FPV expands into First-person view, a concept that has witnessed a surge in popularity across the drone industry. It is one of the most immersive and exhilarating ways to fly a drone. It extends a plethora of usage, from drone racing, aerial photography, agricultural applications to operations involving search and rescue(SAR) and impressive videography.

Image Credits: droneomega

Image Credits: droneomega

FPV drones provide a superlative form of immersive experience where the visual consciousness of a pilot is exponentially raised as it is transferred to a full-fledged flying and hovering object. It’s like another set of fully-functional eyes!

FPV multirotor flying can be primarily categorized into three types: freestyle flying, aerial photography and FPV racing.

FPV freestyle has attracted a lot of professional pilots because of the variants of maneuvers provided by it. It is like drawing on a white canvas, open to creativity and expression. Freestyling also preps you for racing in addition to other benefits. It awakens the Marco Polo in you where you set out to explore new locations with your FPV drone.

Aerial photography, on the other hand, is the art of capturing pictures from air with the help of an FPV drone. It is quite in trend these days as you see these drones covering literally every important event right from weddings to sports to being used in area mapping or while shooting for a movie.

Most popular of the lot is FPV racing. It is simply an adrenaline rush testing the competitors’ quick reflexes in addition to their wide variant of maneuvers. The tracks for the competition is carefully curated with a lot of flags, obstacles and gates to make it as challenging as possible.

Now let’s get into the technicalities to frame a better perspective about FPV drones. A multirotor has four main control points, namely, the roll, the pitch, the yaw, and the thrust, and each of these work both independently from one another and can even work together to create a more complex movement. Rocking our hand from side to side is roll. Tipping our hand forward, then backward, would be pitch. Keeping our hand palm down, while turning our hand left to right is an example of yaw. Lifting our hand higher in the air, while keeping our palm face down, and then bringing it back down is a portrayal of thrust.

Having a better understanding about the internal components gives a FPV drone pilot, an edge over the rest. The components for any FPV multirotor can be broken down into the following three distinct categories, namely, the flight system, the power system, and the FPV system. The flight system comprises motors, propellers, electronic speed controllers, flight controller, and the radio receiver. The power system consists of the battery and the power distribution board. The FPV system contains the camera, the video transmitter, and the antenna.

Frames are like the very cornerstone of every multirotor. All the components are mounted on this. Frames are measured in millimeters, diagonally from the center of the motor mounted on one arm, to the center of the motor mounted on the other arm directly diagonal from it.

Image Credits: droneomega

Image Credits: droneomega

The intellect of the multirotor lies in the flight controllers. Flight controllers are one of the most intricate pieces of equipment that can be programmed to varying degrees to suit an individual’s requirements. Now the output generated by the flight controllers are fed as inputs to the electronic speed controller that eventually decides for and dictates the motors to work in a certain way, fly at a certain speed and follow a certain direction. Motors help in providing the power for the our multirotor to transcend the sky. Most of the motors for multirotor are labeled as brushless motors, and work by using three phase power to drive electromagnets that spin the motor. Propellers, or props, provide the required thrust to the flight system. They are attached to the motors spinning in resonance with the motors. There are different styles and sizes of props , made of different material and having different shape and blade pitch. It is noted that spinning a heavier prop consumes more energy therefore must go in for a suitable size just in order to strike a balance.

Next, let’s discuss about the radio receiver that works as the translator between the pilot’s radio controller and the flight controller. One must choose a radio receiver that matches the brand and model of the radio controller and has a lower latency.

So that new pair of eyes we were previously talking about is your flight camera that helps you capture everything that a naked eye can’t. Now as the name suggests, video transmitters, basically transmits the video captured by the flight camera and renders it on your googles. They are carefully crafted with a variety of possible frequencies to make it possible for many pilots to take to the sky, at once.

The immersive experience extended by FPV drones is only made possible because of the goggles. The functionalities of goggles bear resemblance to those of the virtual reality headsets.

The essential components of the Power System are the Power Distribution Board and the batteries. Power Distribution Boards simplifies the wiring of a multirotor. On the board, the battery is wired, with the help of a connector, to the board, and from there, the rest of the components are all wired into the board. This way the board can provide power to all the components. We all have heard about mitochondria being the powerhouse of every cell. Well, batteries are those sets of mitochondria for the multirotor. They help in determining how powerful or multirotor is and how long can it sustain itself in air. Choosing the right variant of battery plays a pivot role in determining the balance in the terms of weight and power. The more weight one adds to the multirotor, the shorter the flights will get, and the more weight the motors have to endure.

Well, that was our take on FPV drones. Hope it acts as a propellor to help you take your first flight in the sky of FPV drone technologies. 

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