How do drones work? – Step by Step Explanation

Last Updated on 4 months by JoinTheWays

How do drones work? – Step by Step Explanation

You are here probably because you know what drones are – but you don’t fully understand the mechanism of how they operate! – let us find out

So, how do drones work? What technologies are drones using? How do they fly?, How do drones transmit data? How do drones communicate?

Knowing the answer to all these questions as a drone professional will make your experience with flying a drone easier than you think but will take your content creation to the next level.

In this article, we will cover step by step explanation of how drones work, so by the end of the article, you will have a total understanding of everything on drone operation – Let’s dive in.

How do drones work?

To understand how drones work, we first need to understand the mechanism and the technology used in drones, so what are these?

The Mechanism

Drones use rotors that have propellers attached to a motor which help the drone to hover in the air and go in different directions.

So the mechanism here is propellers generate the downward thrust (upward force) of the drone that must be higher than the gravitational pull (gravity) working against it;

So when a drone pilot increases the speed until the rotors produce enough upward force greater than gravity (gravitational pull), the drone starts to lift and hover in the air.

Likewise, when the drone wants to land, the pilot has to decrease speed to reduce the upward force then gravitational force becomes stronger to pull the drone down and land.

Now we have seen the mechanism, let’s see the technology used in drones

The technology used in Drones:

There are many drone technologies, especially nowadays because the competition among drone brands is fierce in terms of features and technologies, but for the case of how drone work, we will discuss three drone technologies,

Gyroscope stabilization

Gyroscope stabilization is the technology that allows a drone to fly smoothly. It does so by providing navigational data to the central flight controller of the drone that keeps track of the drone and enables it to move in any direction.

Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) Drone technology

The IMU technology detects the current acceleration rate of a drone using one or more accelerometers. IMU technology detects changes in various rotational attributes of the drone using gyroscope stabilization.

Motors and propellers Technology

Yes, motors and propellers can be termed as technology in this context as they enable the drone to move into the air and hover or fly in any direction based on the data received from the flight controller and electronic speed controllers.

So, how do drones operate?

Well, drones operate through a simple mechanism of generating enough upward force through propellers to beat the gravity force ( downward force) into the air and then use gyroscope stabilization, IMU, and Motor & propellers technologies to collect data and rotation attributes that allow the drone to hover and fly in different directions.

So far, We have covered the mechanism and technologies drones use to fly. Let’s see how drones communicate

how do drones communicate

So, how do UAVs communicate? – The drone communications systems operate on two radio wave frequencies of 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz. The first frequency controls the drone from the ground via a remote pilot, and the other frequency beams data or relays First-Person View (FPV) video.

How do drones communicate with a controller?

Drones communicate with controllers at a 2.4 gigahertz radio wave frequency to establish a high-quality, reliable communications link that enables drones to take aerial visuals and data while remaining in flight.

But drones use a communication drone standard called MAVLINK, a lightweight messaging protocol for communication between drones and between onboard drone components.

How do drones communicate with a phone?

Drones communicate with a phone using WIFI that transmits into a 2.4 gigahertz spectrum and establishes a communication link between a drone and a phone.

How do drones communicate with each other

Drones communicate with other drone controllers using WIFI, which can be transmitted on the 2.4 gigahertz spectrum and is something smartphones and tablets can tap in.

Also, communicate with each using a mavlink protocol which is a communication protocol that follows a modern hybrid publish-subscribe and point-to-point design pattern between drones.

So far, we have covered the mechanism of drones, the technologies that drone use, and how drones communicate. Let’s see how drones do transmit video.

How do drones transmit video?

Have you ever wondered why a drone is in the air around a 5-mile range but still can transmit a live feed HD video into a screen? – If you are familiar with professional drones such as Exo BlackHawk Pro, DJ MAVERICK 3, or X7 Ranger plus, you should have encountered such a thing.

There are three ways a drone can transfer video:


The WIFI method uses 2.4 and 5 GHz WIFI frequencies with their proprietary LightBridge or OcuSunc protocol that enables video transmission even for longer distances.

5 GHz WIFI spectrum

Most FPV drones use a 5 GHz WIFI spectrum, and FPV goggles and monitors use the Diversity scheme to do the video transmitters on the drone.


Use 3G/4G dongles attached to the drone for wireless transmission of high data like videos at rates (packets).

Custom Solution

Use of Radio Frequency transceivers for wireless High Definition video transmission for drones.

Drone companies can use Radio Frequency transceiver line AD9361/AD9363 and make the hardware based on their spectrum availability as these transceivers are wide band up to 6GHz.

One baseband side for an FPGA is used for digital processing to allow video transmission from a drone.

Drone tips and Tricks

How do drones stream a video?

Live streaming from drones used to be a daunting task combined with a low-quality experience since it involved third-party software and screen capturing of your mobile device, which unfortunately included all the on-screen display graphics seen when flying a drone.

The latest update to the drone software apps like DJI FLY and FLY EXO includes a native live streaming feature, which drastically improves and simplifies the live streaming experience.

So how do we stream the video?

To stream a video with drones, you need to connect your drone to the app. once the connection is secured. Select the transmission tab on the settings tab of the live streaming platforms, and click the ‘RTMP’ icon to get live streaming options.

Under ‘Livestream Settings’ – You enter your RTMP broadcasting URL. and choose your broadcasting resolution, bitrate, and the stream will start. You have to make sure your internet connection is stable to avoid the need for drops when streaming.

How do drones send video to phones?

Drones can send video to phones via BlueTooth or WIFI.

A drone can pair with BlueTooth like any other device, or the use of the flight app makes the Bluetooth connection, or the drone can act like a little WAP-Wireless Access Point to connect via WIFI through phone settings.

After pairing a drone with the phone, digital data transfers like videos is possible from the drone to the phone.

WRAP UP – How do drones work?

That is a wrap on the topic – how do drones work? I’m sure now you know

  • the mechanism of a drone
  • the Technologies that a drone uses to support its flight
  • How do drones communicate with each other, controllers, and phones
  • How drones transmit video

If you have any questions or opinions about this topic, please comment in the connect section or reach out. I would love to help.


Are drones AC or DC motors?

Drones use DC motors.

Can drones fly without the Internet?

Yes, a drone can fly without WIFI or cell service. However, some drone features will enhance with WIFI or cell service connections.

How high can drones fly?

A drone is only permitted to fly 400 feet at maximum altitude according to FAA permits for drones. The 400 feet’ maximum height is to avoid interfering with other aircraft in the sky.

How does a drone function?

Drones functions through a mechanism of generating enough upward force through propellers to beat the gravity force ( downward force) into the air and then use gyroscope stabilization, IMU, and Motor & propellers technologies to collect data and rotation attributes that allow the drone to hover and fly in different directions.

How do drones transmit data?

Drones can transmit data when paired with a phone via Wifi or Bluetooth.

How far can a drone transmit video?

A drone can transmit video up to 5 miles (8 km) distance.

        Jastine Martine
        Jastine Martine

        Jastine Martine is the editor at JoinTheWays. He is obsessed with flying different types of drones and his love for UAVs is unmatched. He also loves storytelling, Digital Marketing, and networking with other people around the world.

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