Small UAVs come in all shapes and sizes with models varying by application. Here are a few of the designs you’re likely to see overhead sometime soon.
Multicopters are the most well-known and most popular. This DJI Phantom series quadcopter is a best-seller for applications that require aerial photography.
This 3DR Solo is a good pick for construction sites and other inspections. Generally the more rotors a copter has, the greater its lifting capabilities. Having more rotors also offers a redundant safety measure in the event that one of them fails. The trade-off, of course, is that they eat battery life more quickly.
Fixed-wing designs have a greater range and don’t use battery life as vigorously as multicopters. They’re popular for mapping applications or places where precise maneuverability isn’t a priority. This one’s a recreational model: a Parrot Disco.
UAVs. Amazon turned some heads this year with the announcement of their Amazon Prime Air service. Here are two prototype designs that may be landing on your doorstep soon: an octocopter and a hybrid that’s somewhere between a fixed-wing and a multicopter.