If you’re new to the drone industry, it can be hard to get your head around all the acronyms, abbreviations and industry terms.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of all the drone terminology you’ll ever need to know.
Autonomous Collision Avoidance System (ACAS). This allows the drone to detect obstacles and reroute or hold a position to avoid them.
Above Ground Level
Measures the acceleration of a drone in a specific direction.
Altitude Hold Function
A function that allows a drone to hover in the air at a specific height.
A drone flight that is pre-programmed by the pilot to follow a path dictated by various waypoints. Once the flight commences, the pilot does not intervene/control the drone, the drone follows the path and comes to land at a predefined point.
A feature that allows the flight to continue without manual control by the pilot.
A process to link a drone with the controller.
A type of drone motor with permanent magnets that rotate around an armature, generally considered to be more robust and efficient than other motor types.
Beyond visual line of sight.
Civil Aviation Authority, the statutory corporation which oversees and regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the United Kingdom.
A vision system that allows drones to avoid obstacles and prevent collisions.
The handheld device used by pilots to control a drone.
A virtual replication of a physical object/process using real-world data. They are used to map out an asset and its performance.
The largest UAV manufacturer worldwide, based in China.
Dynamic Remotely Operated Navigation Equipment
Digital Surface Model. Captures both natural and artificial/man-made features of the environment.
Digital Terrain Model. A bare-earth model.
Federal Aviation Administration. Part of the US Department of Transportation Agency that regulates and oversees all civil aviation in the United States.
A preventative system to protect a drone in the event of a failure. For example, a drone may be programmed to return home if it loses connection with the controller.
Fixed Wing Drone
A drone with long tilted wings that create a lift effect while cruising – similar to a passenger aircraft.
Field of View
First Person View
A virtual geographic boundary created through the use of GPS and software to limit where a drone can and cannot fly.
A camera stabilisation device that allows for steady video and clear pictures while moving at high speeds.
Global Navigation Satellite System
Global Positioning System
A device that measures the rate of rotation and keeps the drone balanced.
Liquid Crystal Display Monitor. A screen, usually attached to the controller, used to view what a drone’s camera is seeing.
Light Detection and Ranging. A LiDAR sensor emits pulsed light waves into the surrounding environment. These pulses bounce off surrounding objects and return to the sensor. The sensor uses the time it took for each pulse to return to the sensor to calculate the distance it travelled.
Lithium polymer, the type of battery favoured by most drone manufacturers.
Software that allows you to create 3D maps and models from inputting a number of images from varying altitudes and angles.
Maximum Takeoff Mass/Weight. The maximum mass at which an aircraft is certified to take off due to governmental/regulatory or structural limits.
An extremely small drone, with measurements of around 10 x 2.5 cm.
No Fly Zone
An area in which flying drones is restricted, usually by government regulations.
A drone with 8 rotors.
On Screen Display
The weight which a drone can carry. Payloads include any additional attachments to the outside of the drone, e.g. cameras or sensors.
Power Distribution Board. A component of a drone that distributes the power from the battery to the other parts of the device.
The process of transforming a collection of images into a 3D model by stitching photographs together, correcting any geometric distortion, to create one large image called an Orthomosaic.
A description of the upwards and downwards tilt movement on each side of the drone.
An angled blade that transforms rotary motion into thrust, allowing for a drone to lift off the ground. Sometimes referred to as ‘prop’ for short.
A four-rotor drone.
Used to describe the upwards and downwards tilt movement on each side of the drone.
Ready to Fly
Return to Home. A GPS destination can be programmed as a ‘home’ point for the drone to return to.
The largest U.S drone manufacturer and leader in autonomous flight technology.
A person who keeps the drone in their visual line of sight.
A two-way digital data stream between the UAV and a ground station that is used to communicate flight data and instructions to control the UAV.
Temporary Flight Restriction. An area where flights are restricted, usually due to out of the ordinary events e.g. natural disasters or government presence.
The technique of using the heat given off by an object to produce an image of it or to locate it.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Sensors that calculate height and balance.
The ability of the drone to take off upright, as opposed to a fixed-wing aircraft.
The lag time between the video stream a drone is capturing and the actual time it is relayed to the pilot/controller.
Visual Line of Sight.
Coordinates defining a point in space used to create a flight path for UAVs.
Rotating the drone along its vertical axis.