Drone Technology

Online course to help you understand more about drones. Learn about the different uses of drones in various tasks and different industries.

Course Code: BIT207
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn what Drones are and how they can be used in a variety of industries.

The Drone Technology course will help you understand different types of drones, how they work, and how they are used across a broad variety of industries.

The applications and uses for drones are expanding all the time, across many industries. More opportunities to use drone technology are expanding all of the time. Drones have very real, practical uses in:

  • Agriculture and Horticulture
  • Land and Environmental Management
  • Media and Entertainment Industries
  • Supply Logistics
  • Military Industries
  • Construction
  • Exploration -Geological, Space and more.

This course will increase your awareness of the value and possibilities for using drones and also your ability to solve problems and be more productive in a variety of workplaces will be enhanced.

Drones can look quite different from one another based on the type of drone being examined. Excluding differences in propulsion and method of lift there are a number of common features. All drones require a power supply, antenna, receiver, flight control instruments and sensors. We will investigate these items here with reference to the layout of a common multi rotor drone.

Examples of features include camera types, resolution of captured videos and images, megapixels, and formats for media storage. Other critical features include flight time, speed, hover accuracy, sensor types, obstacle sensing range, altitude hold, live video feed, and flight logs.

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Drone Technology
    • What is a Drone?
    • History of Drones
    • Types of Drones
    • Connectivity
    • Purpose of a Drone
  2. Drone Features and Operation
    • Main Features of Drones
    • Components
    • Operation of Drones
  3. Benefits, Risks and Legalities
    • Ethical Concerns
    • Legal Considerations
  4. Environmental Applications
    • Land Management
    • Reforestation
    • Sustainable Agriculture and Crop Monitoring
    • Monitoring & Inspection of Renewable Energy Sources, Pipelines, and Oil Rigs
    • Wildlife Conservation
    • Transport & Delivery
  5. Exploratory and Discovery Applications
    • Drones in Exploration
    • Oceanic Exploration
    • Space Exploration
    • Drones in Mining Applications
  6. Retail and Service Applications
    • Drones in Real Estate
    • Photography
    • Drones for Online Services
    • Drones in Security
    • Drones in Behavioural Economics
  7. Agronomic and Horticulture Applications
    • Horticulture
    • Agronomy
    • Viticulture
    • Livestock
    • Precision Agriculture
    • Applications
  8. Construction and Industry Applications
    • Construction Drones
    • Mapping and Land Surveys
    • Data and Scheduling
    • Track and Inventory Equipment
    • Progress Reports and Collaboration
    • Safety and Inspections
    • Security and Surveillance
    • Limitations of Drones in Construction
  9. Telecommunication Applications
    • Drone Technology in Telecommunications

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Discuss the scope and nature of how drones are used.
  • Discuss features that affect the drone’s purpose and any specific uses.
  • Explain benefits, risks and concerns surrounding the use of drones in both commercial and private environments.
  • Discuss how drones are used in environmental research, conservation, and sustainability applications.
  • Explain significant applications for different types of drones in areas of exploration and discovery.
  • Discuss how retailers, including online retailers, may use drones in their business and marketing plans.
  • Explain features of drones used in agriculture and horticulture and how they are used in these industries.
  • Discuss how drones can be used in the construction industry.
  • Explain how drones can be used in the telecommunication industry.

A Valuable Tool if Used Well

Drones can be all sizes and shapes, and they are essentially data collectors, which means they come with a suite of privacy, ethical, and legal concerns.
They are increasingly used in many applications from surveying and construction to applications in military, environmental and agricultural industries.
As with any technology though; drones are simply a tool which can be either used well, or used poorly. 
Drones can benefit mankind, but it is important to appreciate concerns and avoid problematic applications.

Ethical Concerns

Ethical concerns relating to drones and their usage are centred on the potential for encroachment on the individual rights of people, data protection and accountability of autonomous drones.

Individual Rights

Though legal rights of the individual vary between nations and regions, people have a fundamental expectation of privacy in their own homes or on their own property. This is big cause for concern when considering the ethics of drone usage. Particularly in more densely populated areas a drone user could be flying across property belonging to other people. There may be no ill intent however it can still be a cause for concern to the property owner who will not know who is operating the drone or their purpose. For this reason, many local authorities specify rules regarding how and where drones can be operated which typically are with some form of line of sight in open non-residential places.

As the technology used in drones has continued to develop and become more popular the price point has dropped which has increased the ubiquity of the technology even further. As the devices are built for long range operation with installed cameras and the capacity for versatile payloads there are concerns that they can be used for less salubrious purposes. As these concerns relate to misuse of the devices, for things like smuggling, stalking, or spying, they should be addressed by legislation to deter unethical usage.

Data Protection

People have the right to determine how their personal information is collected and used. As the purpose of a drone is most often to collect data, whether in image or some other format, it means that data protection must be considered whenever the device is being operated. There are two main types of personal data collection within drone use:

  • Where personal data collection is the purpose of the drone – such as in surveillance or personal photography.
  • Where personal data collection is not the purpose of the drone – such as in land surveys, inspections, or other photography.

Where personal data collection is the purpose of the drone every effort should be made to comply with local regulations in storing and disposing of the data as required and the data collection should not go further than specified for the drone purpose i.e., using a drone to check the integrity of a perimeter fence and look for incursions may be fine, but using the drone to look inside neighbouring properties would be spying.

Where personal data collection is not the purpose of the drone every effort should be made to minimise the possibility of this occurring. This may involve only using a payload appropriate to the task at hand, removing GPS data or blocking off an area in which the drone will be used to stop inadvertent recording of people. In any case footage from the drone should be checked prior to dissemination and if identifying details of people and vehicles can be determined the operator should try to obscure them.

At all stages when collecting data with a drone the user should be considering the issue of consent and whether they have it for whatever data they gather. If consent is not or cannot be given, then the data should be disposed of or anonymised in some way.

As drones are used more in delivery services and accessing remote or disaster struck areas there is also a consideration relating to personal healthcare data. As with any other personal data it should be protected, only used in an appropriate context, and not disseminated without the individual in question specifically allowing it.

Accountability of Autonomous

At present any ethical consideration relating to drones comes back to the operator or the person processing the data from the drone. However, with the continued developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) there will be a corresponding increase in autonomous drones with various levels of decision-making ability. To account for this there will have to be specified limits on how and what the drones do and how the data they handle is used.
Though the institution of something along the lines of writer Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are likely still a way off, there must be guidance in place to ensure accountability in the operation of autonomous drones.

Legal Considerations

Typically, there are laws pertaining to the use of drones set by national aviation bodies. These laws may vary from region to region but will define operational limits on hours they may be operated, flight heights, proximity to other people, prohibited flight zones and personal privacy concerns. Regulations deal with how the drone is used and why the drone is being used.

Environmental Law

Many parks, forests, marine areas, and conservation areas will have some form of legislation regarding the use of aerial vehicles including drones in their vicinity. There can be several elements to this protection. Some restrict flights below a certain flight height to preserve the natural and cultural significance of the site, in effect making sure that the area remains undisturbed to the people and wildlife in amongst it. Some restrictions are for animal safety as drones can disturb animals who mistake them for predators or interfere with the movement and nesting of birds.

As with all technology there are also local regulations to adhere to when disposing on any drone batteries or damaged parts. This would fall under a country’s recycling or disposal of electronic waste regulations, with these guidelines being in place to ensure electronic waste is disposed of in the most environmentally friendly manner.

Privacy Concerns

Due to their size, manoeuvrability, and adaptability there are concerns regarding how drones may be used to breach people’s privacy. Most drone operators using them recreationally or commercially are doing so in a responsible way but even these uses can cause concern to other people such as when a drone is repeatedly flying overhead. With their capability to record pictures and video and to have different devices attached drones are well suited to surveillance. This is a use by many law enforcements and security departments. There are specific concerns relating to areas of privacy out with the scope of legal surveillance though.

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ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
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Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
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ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
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Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
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ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).
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ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.

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