The capabilities of unmanned vehicles are rapidly evolving and growing far beyond what anyone could have imagined. With so many types of drones, it can be difficult to set the different types apart and fully understand the abilities of each one. Don’t worry, UVT is here to help with this comprehensive guide to types of unmanned vehicles.
What is an Unmanned Vehicle?
An unmanned vehicle, or a drone, is a type of vehicle that can be powered or unpowered without a person onboard directly operating it. The vehicle can also be operated either remotely or autonomously. You’ve probably seen drones flying in the air taking photos or videos, but there’s a lot more to what they can do.
Simply put, there are unmanned vehicles meant to operate on air, land, and sea. To break it down further, they can include cargo or human transport, be armed, and have several different sensors or other payloads. Let’s dive into the three most popular types of drones.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are by far the most popular systems. They’re capable of carrying an assortment of sensors including high-resolution cameras, infrared (thermal) sensors, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), speakers, searchlights, and more. What sets these unmanned vehicles apart is their elevated vantage point that people can’t reach on their own. When it comes to cargo-carrying UAVs, these drones are valuable because they can travel and transport very efficiently.
Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV)
Unmanned ground vehicles have a variety of uses. There are several forms that UGVs can take, including self-driving cars, unmanned delivery systems, and ground robots. Ground robots are used by law enforcement and international defense forces to protect public safety by performing inspections and investigating suspicious packages and bombs.
Waterborne Unmanned Vehicles
There are two main types of waterborne unmanned vehicles - unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). USVs are vehicles that travel on the water like a boat, while UUVs are able to go underwater.
Water- and sea-based unmanned systems have a lot of untapped potential. There are a multitude of unmanned boats, submarines, and other systems that can operate above or below water. These systems can be used for several purposes such as transporting goods above water or recovering lost items underwater.
USVs and UUVs are helpful for many sectors such as government, military, commercial, oil and gas, and surveying. They allow you to operate and gain insights from the land while the vehicle is operating without any human members onboard.
Unmanned Vehicles are Changing the Game
Unmanned vehicles are being used in so many new ways, we are only beginning to scratch the surface. While they have industrial, government, defense, and transportation uses, you may also start to see unmanned vehicles in your day-to-day life.
Unmanned vehicles can save lives. In Florida, unmanned vehicles were used to deliver medicine to the largest retirement community in the United States. The ability to provide this contactless delivery of essential medicine to some of the people that are most at-risk if exposed to COVID-19 is potentially life-saving.
The current pandemic brought an abrupt end to this school year for America’s youth. In Virginia, Google used Wing drones to deliver books to students that can't go to the library due to COVID-19. Children are able to continue their education safely thanks to unmanned vehicles.
Drive-through and delivery food options have become increasingly popular, but what if they could be even safer with unmanned vehicles? In Arizona, a pizza restaurant is using easily-sanitizable and curb-hopping Starship Technologies ground robots for contactless delivery within a half-mile radius. This contactless food delivery method provides the extra level of sanitation and safety that people need during this time.
What does this mean?
The world is changing. There are countless problems that now can be solved by unmanned vehicles. While we have expanded on a few different types of unmanned vehicles, there are many more out there and even more waiting to be invented. Here at UVT, we love being a part of the unmanned vehicle technological revolution. Are you interested in joining in as well? Contact us today.