What Technical Gains have been made in the Last Twenty Years for UAS Designs or Operations?
The use of the unmanned aircrafts in the military has been the most noticeable feature in the development of the unmanned aircraft systems. The advancement of these systems has made it possible to remotely operate aircrafts at greater heights and distances than before (Kopeikin, Ponda, Johnson & How, 2013). This has made it possible for the military to carry out surveillance and attacks remotely hence without endangering its soldiers (Minwalla, Thomas, Ellis, Hornsey& Jennings, 2016). Essentially, unmanned aircrafts are also used for other functions apart from the military. For instance, they are used in the movie industry to take aerial shots and photos, transport medical supplies to remote places, fight wildfires, investigate and fix critical infrastructure, and assist in emergency response to disasters.
Technical advances made in the last twenty years involved the materials used in the manufacture of the unmanned aircraft vehicles, their capabilities, the wireless network used to communicate between an airborne aircraft and operators on the ground and the propulsion and launching technology used. Multiple uses for the unmanned aircrafts have been discovered, and this has led to the development of drones of varying sizes (Illeez, 2014). These ranges from handheld drones to bigger and more sophisticated military drones and the use of polymers in the manufacture of drones, especially the smaller sized ones have made them lighter and required less power to keep in flight.
Different designs developed for the drones exist, and are dependent on their purpose. The more intensive the function, the harder the design. Secure wireless networks have been developed to help in the communication between the drones and their operators on the ground. Undoubtedly, these networks are implemented in a manner that makes them unsusceptible to outside interference (Washington, van Deventer & Clothier, 2014). Moreover, the varying sizes of the drones have enabled them to have different propulsion systems. These range from the hand-held drones that are thrown into the air by hand to the more massive drones that require a runway.
Illeez, M. (2014).Capabilities of unmanned aircraft systems in hybrid wars.International Journal Of Unmanned Systems Engineering, 2(4). http://dx.doi.org/10.14323/ijuseng.2014.17
Kopeikin, A., Ponda, S., Johnson, L., & How, J. (2013).Dynamic Mission Planning for Communication Control in Multiple Unmanned Aircraft Teams.Unmanned Systems, 01(01), 41-58. http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/s2301385013500039
Minwalla, C., Thomas, P., Ellis, K., Hornsey, R., & Jennings, S. (2016). Range performance evaluation from the flight tests of a passive electro-optical aircraft detection sensor for unmanned aircraft systems. Journal Of Unmanned Vehicle Systems, 4(2), 96-114. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/juvs-2014-0022
Washington, A., van Deventer, W., & Clothier, R. (2014). Practical Considerations in the Design of an Obstacle Detection, Mapping and Path Planning System for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems.International Journal Of Unmanned Systems Engineering, 2(3), 12-35. http://dx.doi.org/10.14323/ijuseng.2014.9