Drones have swiftly transformed from futuristic gadgets to essential tools across various industries, ranging from aerial photography to agriculture and even package delivery. At its core, a drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with various sensors, cameras and sometimes additional payloads like thermal imaging or LiDAR technology. These devices are controlled remotely by an operator, either through manual piloting or pre-programmed routes.

One of the most striking features of drones is their versatility. They come in various shapes and sizes, from small quadcopters that can fit in the palm of your hand to large fixed-wing aircraft capable of covering vast distances. Most modern drones are equipped with GPS for precise positioning and navigation, allowing them to execute complex flight manoeuvres with ease. Additionally, advancements in battery technology have significantly extended flight times, enabling drones to stay airborne for hours at a time.

Whether it’s capturing stunning aerial footage, surveying agricultural land for crop health, or assisting in search and rescue operations, drones continue to revolutionize countless industries with their efficiency, agility and accessibility. As technology advances further, we can only expect drones to become even more capable and integrated into our daily lives.

USB connections serve several purposes in drones. Here are some common uses of USB with drones:

      • Firmware Updates
      • Data Transfer
      • Charging
      • Accessory Connectivity

FTDI ICs are perfectly suited for integrating USB into drones!

FT602 is a USB UVC class device which can be used as the camera interface giving a high-quality video interface to the onboard CPU which can then be sent to the operator wirelessly and stored on external memory if required.

FTDI USB to UART based cables and ICs can be easily integrated for Firmware Updates, Data Transfer, Charging and Accessory Connectivity. The interface can be used as configuration and communication between the onboard CPU and flight controller.

FTDI IC’s which have the following key features make them ideal candidates for the application:

    • USB Full / High / SuperSpeed connectivity depending on the application requirements.
    • Multiple data interfaces including UART, RS232, RS485, RS222, SPI, I2C, FIFO and GPIO.
    • Entire USB protocol handled on the chip. No USB specific firmware programming required.
    • EEPROM for customization.
    • Data transfer rates (up to): UART (12Mbaud), SPI (52.8Mbps), I2C (6.66Mbit/s), FIFO (Full Speed: 1Mbyte/s, High Speed: 40Mbyte/s, SuperSpeed: 400Mbyte/s).
    • Integrated receive and transmit buffers for high data throughput.
    • FTDI’s royalty-free drivers eliminate the requirement for USB driver development.
    • Low operating current and USB suspend current.
    • Extended operating temperature range: -40°C to 85°C (Industrial), -40°C to +105°C (Automotive)
    • Available in various compact Pb-free from 12 Pin DFN package (RoHS compliant).


The block diagram shows how FTDI’s USB ICs can be integrated into this typical application.


Recommended ICs: