A basic guide on the altitude sensors used in drones

What do you mean by the term altitude sensor for drones? 


An altitude meter or an altimeter is a kind of instrument typically used to measure or gauge the altitude of an object above a static level. Such kind of measurement of altitude is commonly called altimetry, which is commonly associated with the term bathymetry (it is used to measure the depth underwater).


Is it accurate to think about altitude sensors for drones?


A section or a part of telemetry data has been regarded as one of the most significant factors for drone pilots to measure an altitude. Altitude should not only be regulated or monitored to adhere to rules and regulations, but also to accumulate some relevant data operations. You are even passionate enough to regulate the altitude if you are flying close to tall structures. With regard to altitude sensors for drones, have you ever interrupted to contemplate the accurateness of a drone altimeter? Or, the question may arise in your mind how do drone altimeters practically work? The answer is yes, it becomes accurate to think about altitude sensors for drones.


What is the significance of drone altimeters?


The altitude reading of a drone is not only considered just a piece of telemetry data that we gaze at every now and then. In most situations, altimeter readings are regarded as the most critical flight parameters. For example, if you are flying in a city area, you are required to set up or establish a minimum altitude above the (MOCA) Minimum Obstacle Clearance Altitude in order to prevent tall structures.


Moreover, keeping track or record of altitude figures has also proved to be crucial for legal compliance. In certain regions of controlled airspace, drone flights have been typically restricted to an altitude below 400 feet AGL. This scenario distinctly ensures that your drone doesn’t interfere unnecessarily with unmanned aircraft operations. High levels of altitude accuracy are very much significant in remote sensing applications, such as in precision agriculture or aerial mapping.


Sometimes, spatial measurements made with the help of remote sensing have been always made to the location of a drone- a parameter that measures its flight altitude. In case, if you do not pay any emphasis or attention to the altitude accuracy of a drone end up with inaccurate measurements. It doesn’t matter whether you are mapping an entire field or just measuring the height of a building.


What are the different kinds of drone altimeters?


One significant factor that makes complicated this matter is that does drone altimeters can work smoothly using different mechanisms. In certain cases, drones require more than one system for the purpose of measuring altitude and switching over your interests between them under certain situations.


Some of the names of different altimeters have been briefly enlisted below:-


  • Infrared:- Many drones have downward-facing sensors that generally use infrared. These are commonly referred to as (VPS) Vision positioning systems. The main function of this sensor is to rely upon time-of-flight principles in order to ascertain the altitude of a drone. Infrared-based altitude has been considered very accurate, thereby enabling you to use it within the acceptable range. With the help of a drone, you can easily fly over a relative surface, such as water.


This feature has been mainly programmed into drones and shifted out of VPS to reach a certain altitude threshold, typically around 20 to 30 feet. You are not required to do an “altitude reset” of the drone to acquire VPS readings. Its accuracy is really consistent, even if you have been flying for a longer period without landing.


  • GPS:- The onboard GPS receivers of a drone distinctly ascertain the location of a drone using triangulated data from different GPS satellites. This has been mostly used to measure the horizontal position of a drone. GPS data has played a key role in drone applications that involve spatial data such as 3D modeling and mapping. Moreover, the accuracy of GPS data can be varied based on GPS signal strength.


Key points to be taken away:-


Altimeters have been considered one of the essential sensors used in a drone. They are trusted, reliable, and even accurate. Several factors or components distinctly influence the altimeter accuracy of drones so that they can be easier to control. Altitude readings of drones typically get drifted with an acceptable range of values. If you opt for an altitude sensor for drones, then we have offered you a basic guide to measuring the frequency and altitude of drones.

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