Drones – Definition, Ways, Origin, What are the Uses, and More

Drones Definition

Drones are Unmanned Aircraft remotely controlled and can perform or carry out different types of missions and tasks.

What are the Ways of Drones?

Drones can operate in different ways:

1. Manual

  • Very few computers today are operated manually. Perhaps the most important teams today that are still piloted manually are the Racing Drones.

2. Semi-Automatic

  • This is the way most drone pilots fly when we get started. This is a mode in which the equipment’s operator has the main control of the Drone’s functions.
  • However, it is ‘assisted’ by the GPS, gyroscopes, and other equipment security systems.

3. Automatic

  • In this mode, the Drone acts similar to an autopilot. The job of the professional operator of the equipment, in this case, is to pre-program a mission that the Drone will execute.
  • Once the machine is performing the task, the pilot must be attentive to assist in an emergency.

4. Autonomous

  • In many countries, this equipment’s use autonomously prohibits, and away in, Drone makes decisions independently.
  • Relying on Artificial Intelligence technology, the Drone learns and decides according to its environment. In this case, human presence is an accessory and not necessary.

As we mentioned before, Drones receive many names, here we present the main ones:

  • RPA: Remote Piloted Aircraft
  • UAV: Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle
  • UAS: Unmanned Aircraft System
  • UAV: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
  • ARP: Remotely Piloted Aircraft

Origin of Drones

  • RPAs have their origin (like many of the technological advances today) in the military forces.
  • It has been almost a period since the first ‘drones’ began to use in wars, first in the form of remote control that allowed us to obtain information from the enemy.
  • We find autonomous drones that attack armies or even Drones against Drones are more and more frequent.
  • The development of the last two decades in the military field has lowered the costs of this technology, and it is thanks, in part, that today we have drones with cutting-edge technology at low prices.

What are the Uses of Drones?

  • Drones have great potential in very diverse areas since they can move quickly over uneven or rough terrain and overcome any obstacle by offering images.
  • Capturing other types of data from a bird’s eye view, thanks to the devices it can carry (cameras, sensors) without risks for people.
  • For this reason, Ferrovial uses drones in many of its activities, choosing the most appropriate type of Drone and the sensors to ship (cameras, lidar sensors, etc.).
  • Depending on the use case and the type of data you want to measure on each flight.
  • Additionally, the Digital Hub is promoting drones, offering support to projects to understand the regulation better and save up to date with current rules).
  • It is creating a “FLY-AI” tool that allows, among other things, to manage inefficient documentation necessary for the use of drones, internal approval of flights, and inspection of infrastructures automatically through artificial intelligence algorithms.

Also Read: What is a Business Case? – External, Internal, Importance, and More

1. Infrastructure Inspection

  • The visual inspection of infrastructure is one of the areas where aerial vehicles and unmanned used.
  • The main reasons are twofold: on the one hand, the cost savings derived from the relative ease with which the infrastructure access and, on the other, a  significant reduction in risk to staff.
  • The inspection of transmission lines in Chile is one example of the use of drones in Grupo Ferrovial.

2. Civil Works

  • Using drones with a lidar sensor or high-resolution cameras, topographic surveys and three-dimensional models can be carried out.
  • This makes it possible to generate plans, analyze the work’s evolution, and calculate volumes of extracted earth, among others.

3. Drones and Environment

  • In environmental matters, drones also add up. For example, a drone equipped with a thermal imaging camera can give us a complete view of the state of a landfill: hot spots, areas of humidity, etc.
  • It can use to fly over large areas of vegetation to facilitate maintenance tasks.

4. On roads

  • In the case of conservation of viaducts near a highway, chartering a drone to do the analysis is much cheaper and safer than picking up specialized personnel or sending a helicopter, alternatives that are also time-consuming.
  • It does not prevent subsequent action in detecting a problem, but it does mean the relief of some jobs that previously required on-site personnel.

5. In Airports

  • Air control and security projects already exist on airport runways.
  • An example was the Southampton Airport project, consisting of a predator-shaped drone, which reduced birds on the runway by 74%.
  • Which translates into a large reduction in airport operating costs.


Drones are vehicles capable of flying and command from a distance without requiring a pilot’s participation. There drone of all sizes and oriented to different purposes, especially in recent years.

However, it is important to note that artefacts of this type have been around for quite some time, although they were never so cheap to make, nor did they possess the many features they do today.

Today it is possible to have drones that film the territory from above and guided by a program installed on a tablet or smartphone.

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