From tricopters to fixed-wing-drones:

different types of drones and their applications

Drones are no longer just toys for technology enthusiasts or reserved for the military; with their entry into commercial applications and public services, they have become essential assistants in numerous sectors. At TOPseven we have not just observed this development, we have been actively involved in shaping it so that we can offer our customers the optimal drone solution for their specific requirements.

From manoeuvrable tricopters, through fixed wing drones for endurance, to VTOL drones, the range of possibilities is broad, there follows a short overview:

Versatile and flexible

Multirotor drones

Let us start with the multirotor drones most frequently used in the commercial and private sector. They are divided into tricopters, quadrocopters, hexacopters and octocopters, depending on the number of rotors.

These drones are particularly versatile due to their vertical take-off and landing ability, as well as their ability to float in the air. They are excellently suited to aerial photography, film production, inspections of all types, security applications and, in some cases, also delivery services, but one thing at a time.

Three-fold perspective

tricopters in use

Tricopters are drones with three rotors. They offer good manoeuvrability, but they are more unstable in flight and therefore used less frequently than quadrocopters. However, for special applications in which a compact design and manoeuvrability are required, tricopters can be a good choice.

Due to their simple structure they are manoeuvrable and can change direction quickly. Developed for speed and agility, these drones are the sports cars of the sky.


Quadrocopters are the most popular type of drone. They offer a stable flight attitude and can also be used in stronger winds. Their robust structure makes them the first choice for many applications.
Equipped with four rotors, they offer a high degree of stability and can be equipped with a wide range of sensors and cameras for inspecting every facet of a wind turbine generator, PV installation or complex infrastructure.

For this reason, TOPseven consciously opts for the use of this type of drone. This choice is no accident because quadrocopters form a good balance between stability, manoeuvrability and precision of design.

Six rotors for greater safety

Hexacopters in use

If the issue is additional reliability and a larger payload, hexacopters come into play. Equipped with six rotors, hexacopters offer a flight attitude that is even more stable than quadrocopters.
Even if one rotor fails, in most cases the drone can continue flying and land safely; this type of drone is therefore predestined for critical inspection tasks – also in the heavy-lifting sector.

Heavy loads made easy

octocopters or heavy-lifters

Octocopters, which have eight rotors, are the “heavyweights” among drones. Here up to two rotors can fail and the drone can continue to fly correctly. They offer the greatest load-carrying capacity and redundancy in the multirotor category and are able to carry not only heavy loads, they can also be used in particularly adverse weather conditions, an ability that is important in agriculture and construction and that makes them ideal candidates for extensive tasks with maximum precision.

Endurance champions

Fixed wing drones

Fixed wing drones, drones with rigid wings, are designed for long-distance flying. They can cover large areas in a short time, however they are less suitable for detailed close-up images. Their efficiency in flight makes them ideal for, among other areas, mapping extensive, open landscapes. They are more like conventional aircraft and can fly for long periods and long distances; these drones are therefore very suitable for cartographic tasks and reconnaissance flights. However, they are less manoeuvrable than helicopter drones and require a runway for take-off and landing.

A new era for inspection

VTOL drones

VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) drones combine the advantages of multicopters and aircraft. They can take off and land vertically, however they require less energy during the flight because they can operate like fixed wing drones. Among other areas, these hybrid drones are attracting the attention of delivery services so that parcels can be delivered even in inaccessible areas.


The different types of drone offer a solution for every challenge. The drones of today are complex systems that go way beyond the toys of yesterday and expand the boundaries of what is technologically possible. They are high-tech eyes in the sky that make our world safer. And it is precisely this task that we at TOPseven have set ourselves: MAKING DRONES SMARTER.

Oliver Neubauer
Head of Software Development

Published: 12. February 2024