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Drone Lexicon

 

Below is a list of words, terms, expressions, acronyms, and abbreviations that are commonly encountered within the body of knowledge of industrial and consumer hobby drones. Visitors are welcome to add words, terms, expressions, acronyms, or abbreviations not already included on this list by contacting Skynex Global Drones through the form provided on its website. 

 

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Accelerometers: device that compensates for any unwanted acceleration or movement.

Aerial Drone Photography: the professional or amateur activity of capturing still images or videos from the air with the help of a drone’s video/camera.

AGL: Altitude Above Ground Level

Altitude Hold Mode: the drone will hold a steady altitude; this feature frees the pilot from navigational control of the drone, allowing him/her to instead focus on aerial drone photography.

Angular Velocity Sensors: See “gyroscope”

ARF: Almost-Ready-to-Fly drones (few installations required)

Auto Landing: a smart/intelligent autonomous drone flight feature whereby the drone lands itself autonomously.  

Autonomous Flight Modes: refers to a variety of drone flight modes whereby the drone assumes complete autonomous self-control over its movements. Examples for autonomous flight modes include: altitude hold mode; auto-return home; auto-landing; auto-take off. Autonomous Flight modes free the drone pilot from navigational control of the drone, allowing him/her to instead focus on aerial drone photography. 

Auto Return Home:

Autopilot: a feature whereby the drone will assume autonomous, self-control over its flight movements; this feature free the drone pilot from navigational control of the drone, allowing him/her to instead focus on aerial drone photography or filming.

Axis: refers to a plane of flight; 4-axis control is the standard in hobby drones, with 6-axis being the preferred exception.

 

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Barometric Pressure Sensor: drone device used to calculate drone altitude.

Bind: the action of connecting a drone remote controller (transmitter) to a drone’s receiver.

BNF: Bind-and-Fly drones (connect drone w/ remote control).

Brushed Motor:

Brushless Motor: drone motors composed of permanent stationary magnets (stator) that rotate around a fixed armature (rotor) composed of electromagnets.

BVLOS: Beyond Visual Line of Sight.

 

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Controller: device used by a drone pilot to drone all features and aspect of the drone, including it camera. (See also “Transmitter”) 

Coreless Motor:

 

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Drone: unmanned vehicle or aircraft controlled remotely and capable of autonomous flight.

 

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ESC: Electronic Speed Controller (regulates speed and rotation of motors)

 

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Fail Safe Modes: advanced drone flight modes whereby a drone assumes autonomous control of itself, thereby overriding commands and control issued by the drone pilot, the aim of which is to avoid flight and/or system failures while in flight. Two common examples are when the drone lands itself, or flies itself home autonomously when battery levels are too low to continue its flying operations. The other example is when the drone retracts its flight path to avoid flying in a zone where it would have limited or no signal from the drone pilot.   

Firmware: software loaded onto a drone’s microprocessor.

First Person View (FPV): a live/real-time video camera feed that allows a drone pilot to control a drone as if he/she was sitting inside the drone.

Flight Controller: “nerve center” of a drone (controls LED lights, GPS, speed, movements, etc.)                                   

Follow-Me Mode: a smart/intelligent and autonomous flight mode whereby a drone will lock onto a given subject, and follow the subject autonomously. This mode frees the drone pilot from navigational control, allowing her/him to focus his/her attention on capturing aerial drone footage.

FPV: Acronym for “First Person View”

 

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Geofencing: the intelligent and autonomous use of GPS by a drone to create virtual geographic boundaries, enabling the drone’s flight systems to adopt a certain response relative to relative to any given virtual geographic boundary. (See Fail Safe Modes) 

Gesture Control: a smart/intelligent drone flight feature that allows the drone pilot to control the drone’s flight movements using arm and hand gestures.

Gimbal: pivoted support that allows camera rotation about single axis

GLONASS: Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputknikovaya Sistema (Russian version of GPS)

GoPro: brand name of a high-end, high-quality, high-definition (HD) action camera that can be used and adapted to a wide range of purposes. GoPro cameras are commonly used for aerial drone photography. Some GoPro cameras are waterproof. They can be used in conjunction with a variety of activities that combine aerial photography and water, such as surfing, windsurfing, sailing, and more.

GPS: Global Positioning System (calculates precise geographic location of drone)

Gyroscope (Gyro): an instrument on board a drone that measures the rate of rotation of a UAV, and helps maintain a drone’s flight orientation, as well as a balanced flight relative to a drone’s yaw, pitch, and roll.

 

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H-Shaped Drone Frame: refers to a quadcopter drone frame configuration whereby the four propeller arms are configured as an “H” shaped relative to the drone’s center body. In other words, viewed from above or below, the drone assumes an “H” type of shape.

HD: High Definition

Headless Mode: a flight mode whereby a drone pilot can easily fly a drone without reference to a drone’s front/nose or back/rear. Headless mode gets rid of a drone pilot’s dilemma of having to determine which side of a drone is its front and/or rear.

Hexacopter: six motor drones

 

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IMU: International Measurement Unit is an advanced drone flight system that helps with a drone’s orientation and stabilization by combining a drone’s accelerometer and gyroscope.

Inertial Navigation System: a means of determine a drone’s position, based on its last recorded GPS position, when GPS positioning becomes temporarily unavailable.

IOC: acronym for “intelligent orientation control”, a system that determines a drone’s forward direction without reference to a drone’s “nose”.

 

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KV: RPM constant of a drone motor – the number of revolutions per minute that a drone motor will turn when 1V (one volt) is applied with no load attached to the motor.

 

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Line of Sight (LOS): refers to a pilot’s ability to view and pilot a drone with her/his naked eye. Maintaining a line of sight on a drone usually relates directly to a drone’s control range, in that the further the control range, the more likely a drone pilot is likely to his/her line of sight on his/her drone. Line of sight can also be opposed to First Person View drone flight navigation, where the pilot controls his/her drone using live/real-time images being fed to her/him through 3D/FPV goggles that are connected to a drone’s camera.

Li-Po: refers to a Lithium Polymer battery, a type of battery commonly found in industrial and hobby drones due to their lighter weight and maximum energy capacity and power it offers.

 

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Mod: short for “modification”, another term for “customization. Avid drone enthusiasts enjoy modifying, or customizing their drones to enhance their appearance and performance. 

Multicopter: a generic term that encompasses tricopters, quadcopter, hexacopters, and octocopters.   

Multirotor: generic term for a device that has more than one motor. This encompasses tricopters, quadcopters, hexacopters, and octocopters.

 

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No Fly Zone: in reference to consumer hobby drones, airspace that prohibits the presence of drones. No Fly Zones are most commonly designated near or around airports, where drones could interfere or otherwise obstruct airplanes or other types of aircrafts.

 

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Octocopter: eight motor drones

Orbit Mode:

OSD: “On Screen Display”, refers to the ability to see data, such as flight telemetry (altitude, GPS position,

 

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Panning: short for panorama, panning refers to the horizontal scrolling of an image that is wider than the display. Panning a camera is similar to turning one’s head from left to right/right to left. The expansive view that exceeds the gaze forces the viewer to turn their head left to right/right to left in order to view the full horizontal image.

Payload: usually refers to an object carried by a drone in addition to its own weight. The most common form of payload includes a camera with or without camera. Other less common forms of drone payloads may include, for instance, a mail delivery package, fishing net, water search and rescue device, agricultural spray, and the likes.

Pitch: Up and down movement of a drone along a vertical axis from the front to the back of a drone

Power Distribution Board (PDB): a system that moderates power distribution between each of the drones motor so as to ensure a stable and steady flight.  

Props: Propellers

Propulsion System: drone motor, propellers, and electronic speed controllers

 

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Quadcopter: four motor drones

 

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Radio Controller (RC or R/C): wireless device used to issue flight commands and control to a drone.

Rate Sensors: see “gyroscope” 

RC: Remote control/Radio control

Roll: Rotation of the drone from front to back, i.e. forward, backward, left and right movements along a horizontal axis.

RTF: Ready-to-fly drones (no installations required)

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Sense and Avoid: the ability of a drone to navigate itself clear from obstacles, including from other aircrafts, using obstacle avoidance and infrared sensors.

Servomotor (servomechanism): also referred to as “servo”, a servomotor is used to accomplish a variety of different features, such a camera panning (short for panorama, a camera movement that is similar to turning one’s head from left to right, and right to left.

 

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Throttle: element of control over a drone’s speed.

Transmitter: device used by a drone pilot to control all of the drone’s flight movements, including its video/camera.

Trip copter: three motor drones

TX: short term for referring to a drone’s transmitter or, remote controller.

 

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UAV: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

UHD: Ultra-High Definition

Ultrasonic sensor: a type of sensor that uses ultra sound wavelength in order to communicate with a transmitter. These sensors are commonly used to calculate the distance to ground by projecting sound waves to the ground, then back to the drone. Ultrasonic sensors are only effective in close proximity of the objects or surface they seek to measure. 

 

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Voice Control: a unique smart/intelligent drone flight feature that allows a drone pilot to command and control her/his drone using voice commands.

 

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Waypoint: a set of pre-planned and pre-programmed geographic coordinates that shape or create a drone's pre-planned flight path. 

 

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X-Shaped Drone Frame: refers to a quadcopter drone frame configuration whereby the drone’s four propeller arms are configured as an “X” relative to the main center body of the drone. In other words, viewed from above or below, the drone assumes an “X” type of shape.

 

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Yaw: if you were looking at the drone from underneath, the Yaw of a drone refers to the clockwise or counter-clockwise movement of a drone.