Can A Drone Keep Up With A Car? What Are The Limits?

can a drone keep up with a car

The first thing people look for when buying a drone is to find out how high and fast it can go. People want a picture from the highest spot possible and that video of a fast-moving car.

Yes, a drone can keep up with a car for a short amount of time. It also depends heavily on the distance between the drone and the car. At a top speed of 50 mph, a drone could keep up with a car on the main road for almost half an hour. After that, the battery will most likely run out.

Drones and cars travel at different speeds on different terrains. Although speed is essential for a drone to keep up with a vehicle, it is vital for it to go fast and keep flying for longer.

A military drone can travel at a whopping 134mph while staying in the air for well over 24 hours. This is a drone that could keep up with a car and more. However, no one can acquire a military drone, so let’s focus on what you could buy now or in the future.

While driving between 30mph and 50mph, an average car can travel 8 to 9 hours without needing to stop for gas or get a check-up. Your high-end quadcopter drone can fly at almost 50mph for 25 to 30 minutes. With that said, a quadcopter drone can keep up with a car on residential roads, busy cities, and main roads. Pretty much anywhere, the average speed tops at 50mph.

drone shot of a camper van

There are known automated drones that can keep up with a person for as long as the battery life allows it. A person can walk, run, or travel at a speed of up to 12mph. A velocity any drone has no trouble maintaining.

Drone companies have already started to develop drones that work with combustion fuel. This will allow the drone to travel at a top speed of 62mph for more than 60 minutes. This still means that a public use drone would still need more energy to keep up with a car.

What About Keeping Up With Electric Cars?

While an electric car and a drone both need a charged battery to work, their batteries are very different. The most expensive electric car can travel up to 400 miles without needing to be charged. This would be about 5 hours or so of travel. The cheapest electric car can travel up to 144 miles or 2 hours.

Both cars at maximum speed can outrun a drone. In the end, the average drone would be beaten by the distance traveled by its competitors.

Where Do Drones Come From?

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) are aircraft that do not have human operators on board. They can be operated automatically or driven remotely by a person. The first record of a UAV or drone was in World War I (1914-1918) and was developed by Britain and the United States of America.

The British radio-controlled drone was the first one to appear, being tested in 1917. A year later, the Americans would fly their drone. Neither of the UAV mentioned was used during the war. The British continued to improve their radio-controlled drones to use them in target practice for their military. The United States of America, during the Vietnam War (1955-1975), used drones to perform aerial reconnaissance. This was the first time drones were used in this manner.

In 1970, Abraham Karem from Iraq migrated to the United States. Considered to be the father of UAV technology, Karem started working on drones in his garage. Karem has earned the title of “Drone Father” for the many years he spent working on drones. The Economist described Karem as “the man who created the robotic plane that transformed how modern warfare is waged and continues to pioneer other airborne innovations.” He is an aeronautical engineer and is still alive today.

Are There Any Rules For Flying A Drone?

Flying a drone is considered a responsibility. Also, the fact that they can carry a camera means they could be a breach of security for other people.

The basic rules of flying a drone are pretty standard: always keep your drone visible, avoid restricted airspaces such as airports or planes. Additionally, avoid flying them near emergency situations and if you are under the influence of alcohol. Other rules also prohibit flying a drone over a group of people or an event. In any case, those events usually use drones for coverage.

white drone hovers mid road

How Fast Do Drones Fly?

You can buy a drone that could fly as fast as 70mph. The slowest one flies at a top speed of 27mph. The fastest record for a drone, recorded in the Guinness World Record Book, was 179mph. This was achieved by a drone made for racing.

Racing drones have become a trend in the last couple of years. So much so that they even have a league. You can find videos of these small but fast drones traveling inside houses and on patios while navigating obstacles. These drones are considered to be the fastest in the world. Racing drones can travel up to 25 miles.

What Is The Average Speed Of A Car?

The average speed of a car depends on where you are driving. Speed varies between rural towns, cities, main roads, freeways, and motorways. You can travel as fast as 31mph on a residential street or in a big city, from 49mph to 55mph on the main road and 62mph to 74mph on a freeway.

This means that a drone has a better chance of keeping up with a car on residential and main roads. A racing drone will keep up with a vehicle easily but lose all its battery in a couple of minutes.

Is It Legal For A Drone To Follow You?

The keyword is consent. There are already automated drones that can easily follow a person walking for 20 to 30 minutes. They are even working on automated drones that could follow a car.

Usually, people use automated drones on themselves and on people they know and have received authorization from. Making your drone follow a person, and take pictures of them without consent, is illegal.

What Are The Limitations Of A Drone?

Drones are primarily used to take panoramic photographs or videos. If you’re planning on chasing a car for a long time, you might need a bigger drone.

Curiosity is one of our most essential characteristics, and we are constantly testing the limits of what we can do. We want to know how fast something can go and for how long, even if we buy the item for a nice picture.

Drones are limited in what they can do. They could go really fast, but for a short period of time. They can go high, but up to 40 feet. They can follow you for a walk on an adventure but will need to be recharged constantly. Drones have already been shown to have limitations. We can be sure, however, that every drone developer is probably working on eliminating them.

drone captures car as it drifts

Would A Drone Ever Be Able To Keep Up With A Car For A Longer Time?

The probability is high. The only drones capable of keeping up with cars for as long as they want to are the military grade, tactic drones. Technology inevitably finds its way to everyone. Soon, we will be able to follow a car with a drone without worrying about the distance traveled.

Conclusion

Drones can keep up with the average speed of a car. It can only do this for a small amount of time, given its battery life. The car still has the upper hand because it can travel for as long as 9 hours before needing to stop. Today’s drones would have stopped charging almost 20 times by then. I guess it will always depend on the road traveled and the distance.

By Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.