A quadrotor, also called a quadrotor helicopter or quadrocopter, is a multicopter that is lifted and propelled by four rotors. Quadrotors are classified as rotorcraft, as opposed to fixed-wing aircraft, because their lift is generated by a set of revolving narrow-chord airfoils. Unlike most helicopters, quadrotors generally use symmetrically pitched blades; these can be adjusted as a group, a property known as 'collective', but not individually based upon the blade's position in the rotor disc, which is called 'cyclic' (see helicopter). Control of vehicle motion is achieved by altering the pitch and/or rotation rate of one or more rotor discs, thereby changing its torque load and thrust/lift characteristics.
There are several advantages to quadrocopters over comparably-scaled helicopters. First, quadrotors do not require mechanical linkages to vary the rotor blade pitch angle as they spin. This simplifies the design and maintenance of the vehicle. Second, the use of four rotors allows each individual rotor to have a smaller diameter than the equivalent helicopter rotor, allowing them to possess less kinetic energy during flight. This reduces the damage caused should the rotors hit anything. For small-scale UAVs, this makes the vehicles safer for close interaction. Some small-scale quadrotors have frames that enclose the rotors, permitting flights through more challenging environments, with lower risk of damaging the vehicle or its surroundings.
Angular accelerations about the pitch and roll axes can be caused separately without impacting the yaw axis. Each pair of blades rotating in the same direction controls one axis, either roll or pitch, and increasing thrust for one rotor while decreasing thrust for the other will maintain the torque balance needed for yaw stability and induce a net torque about the roll or pitch axes. This way, fixed rotor blades can be made to maneuver the quad rotor vehicle in all dimensions. Translational acceleration is achieved by maintaining a non-zero pitch or roll angle
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