Home quadcopter guide and tips What is the major role of GPS technology in drones?

What is the major role of GPS technology in drones?

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Welcome to the 21st Century. We may not have flying cars and time travel, but that doesn’t mean the current future hasn’t produced some pretty amazing technology. Whoever thought we would have best GPS drones for the public? Drones that can serve as toys for children, equipment for photographers and videographers, and let’s not forget the sporty racers.

If you’re new to the world of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) — in this case, RC drones— then you’re bound to come across a plethora of options that may or may not make sense. From cameras to frames to GPS modules, drones come in a myriad of varieties— and costs.

Most of us are familiar with the idea of the global positioning system (GPS) referring to the navigator in your car or on your smartphone. However, once we can use satellites to determine our exact positions on Earth at any given time, the applications become endless.

Best GPS drones

With the latest waves of GPS technology, one question tends to rise above the rest: Why do I need GPS for my drone?

The simple answer is, you don’t. However, GPS modules unlock an array of functions that you may appreciate. To help you decide whether you want full, limited, or no GPS functionality, take a look at the following five functions that GPS can activate in your drone.

  1. Altitude Control

Any countries have set a limit for how high you are allowed to fly a drone. In the United States, for example, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has set a height cap of 400 feet (121.92 meters). In Canada, that limit is 300 feet (90 meters).

GPS modules in drones can communicate between the nearest satellite and your wireless receiver to calculate their exact position and ensure that you do not cross the altitude threshold.

  1. Autonomous Flight

Autonomous FlightAutonomous Flight is similar to autopilot, but it is based on waypoints. You can set out high the drone flies, how far, and how fast. Autonomous Flight can lead to some great video shots or allow you to check areas from a distance.

Waypoints flight functions in GPS can serve a variety of purposes. Property surveys, parcel delivery, and fence inspection are just a few.

  1. Follow Me

With “Follow Me” GPS tracking, you can set a target using a GPS enabled mobile device. Your drone then follows that target at a certain distance until commanded otherwise.

Follow Me is a great option for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers or videographers. It can allow for amazing aerial shots, whether you are capturing memories of an adventure or putting together a compilation of action shots. Think of it as the GoPro’s airborne cousin.

  1. Position Hold

Also known as “hover,” Position Hold allows your drone to stay in one spot for a consistent, mostly still view. Your drone communicates with the nearby satellites to determine the exact point it needs to stand. Should it start to drift out of position, it will become aware through the GPS connection and automatically correct itself.

An added benefit to this function is that your drone will automatically stay in place if you release the controls. Whether you are just learning how to fly or something else needs your attention, you can rest assured that releasing the control sticks will not result in a crash.

  1. Return to Home

Return to HomeReturn to Home (RTH) allows your drone to set a waypoint wherever it takes off. In the event of an emergency such as low battery power or loss of connection with your handheld, the drone can return to its starting point to reconnect, recharge, or await instruction.

RTH comes in two forms: automatic and one-button. For automatic, certain preset conditions will cause your drone to return on its own (e.g., low battery, lost connection, out of range). One-Button refers to a button on the controller that allows you to command the drone to return to its takeoff point.

The Future of GPS

GPS is slowly becoming more affordable and readily available. Recent advancements have seen the cost of GPS functionality drop significantly, leading to more drones coming equipped with at least the basic modules. As this technological advancement continues, we may see a new wave of GPS functions for both professionals and amateurs. Welcome to the future; enjoy your flight.

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