The drone or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was originally conceived and developed for military applications. However, improvements in battery technology and computing power has significantly reduced the cost of these devices resulting in their use in a rapidly expanding set of civilian and commercial uses such as:
- Aerial photography
- Product Delivery
- Surveillance and mapping
- Personal/ Leisure Use
The commercial drone market is therefore growing rapidly and has been boosted by a number of aviation authorities formulating regulations to facilitate such use. The drone is considered to be the first widely available commercial application of an autonomous object and is expected in time to be followed by cars and robots.
The adoption of drones for commercial use will require a high level of autonomous behaviour. Drones capable of autonomous action are equipped with a range of sensors including accelerometers, gyroscopes, cameras and 3D sensors and all of these consume power and add weight to the drone, reducing its flight time and range. The sensors contained in a drone also need to be immune to the vibrations caused by the rotors, and the shock caused by environmental conditions and take-off and landing.
CMLs range of actuators are ideally suited to this application because they are:
- inherently lightweight and compact
- robust and resilient to mechanical agitation
- able to be precisely controlled even during significant external disturbances
CML's actuators are already shipping in industry leading drone models.