Servo Drives for Drones and UAVs

servo driveAncient civilizations used hot air balloons and paper lanterns for aerial surveillance and long-distance signaling. Today, drones perform these jobs and many others.

Thanks to servo drives and wireless communication systems, drones can collect data, deliver packages and complete dangerous lifesaving missions.

Drones are arguably one of the most important advances in modern flight thanks to their far-reaching benefits and expanding capabilities.

In 2019, analysts predicted that the market for drones and unmanned aerial vehicles would grow by 25%. However, none of these advances would be possible without servo drives and digital flight controllers.

Servo Drive Applications in Drones and UAVs

Servos are vital for nearly all in-flight functions, including altitude, steering and acceleration. They can also control landing and braking mechanisms when applicable.

In drones and quadcopters, the propellers are typically powered by brushless servo-driven motors that offer exceptional efficiency and reliability.

Additionally, servos power on-board cameras, communication equipment, data-gathering sensors and robotic tools that require precise, perfectly calibrated adjustments. Servomechanisms also manipulate actuators that provide vibration control for improved vehicle stability and image quality.

Advantages of Servo Drives

Servo drives have been popular in the hobby sector for decades thanks to their affordability, reliability and versatility. These qualities make them ideal for use in drones and unmanned aerial vehicles developed for commercial and military applications.

Here are some of the main advantages of next-generation servo drives.

  • Microcontrollers are compact and lightweight, which is critical for airborne vehicles in all classes.
  • Brushless servo motors offer high power density and optimal torque using minimal energy for increased efficiency on long-range missions.
  • Motion control systems offer precise velocity and altitude manipulation with rapid response times that are critical for executing complex flight maneuvers.
  • Signal transmission systems support remote commands as well as closed-loop inputs that enable autonomous and semiautonomous operation.

Servo Control Innovations

Servo drives are powerful and remarkably reliable. However, the biggest advantage is their versatility. Motion control drives support open- or closed-loop setups, and one unit can control multiple actuators or motors.

Engineers have the option to program multiaxis control cues freely or use commands from a library. These drives are compatible with a variety of communication protocols for easy integration, and they support remote troubleshooting for simplified diagnostics and reduced downtime.

Because servos are often used in harsh environments, manufacturers have developed weatherproof, shock-resistant controls designed for demanding conditions on and off the ground.

Companies also make miniature drives and fiber optic controls that offer shorter processing times. Like many forms of technology, these devices are getting faster and smaller.

In the past decade, scientists have started using data flow control valves to manipulate the wing and tail planes in UAVs and high-altitude long-endurance aircraft. This automation concept offers exciting possibilities for a variety of industries.

Servo drives are at the forefront of today’s motion control industry. The range of programming possibilities provided by multivariable servo drives is vital for growth across the robotics, aerospace and automotive sectors.