A remote control vehicle is defined as any vehicle that is teleoperated by a means that does not restrict its motion with an origin external to the device. This is often a radio control device, cable between control and vehicle, or an infrared controller. A remote control vehicle or RCV differs from a robot in that the RCV is always controlled by a human and takes no positive action autonomously
Small scale remote control vehicles have long been popular among hobbyists. These remote controlled vehicles span a wide range in terms of price and sophistication. There are many types of radio controlled vehicles. These include on-road cars, off-road trucks, boats, airplanes, and even helicopters. The “robots” now popular in television shows such as Robot Wars, are a recent extension of this hobby (these vehicles do not meet the classical definition of a robot; they are remotely controlled by a human). Radio-controlled submarines also exist.
Hobby grade RC systems have modular designs. Many cars, boats, and aircraft can accept equipment from different manufacturers, so it is possible to take RC equipment from a car and install it into a boat, for example.
However, moving the receiver component between aircraft and surface vehicles is illegal in most countries as radio frequency laws allocate separate bands for air and surface models. This is done for safety reasons.
Most manufacturers now offer “frequency modules” (known as crystals) that simply plug into the back of their transmitters, allowing one to change frequencies, and even bands, at will. Some of these modules are capable of “synthesizing” many different channels within their assigned band.
Hobby grade models can be fine tuned, unlike most toy grade models. For example, cars often allow toe-in, camber and caster angle adjustments, just like their real-life counterparts. All modern “computer” radios allow each function to be adjusted over several parameters for ease in setup and adjustment of the model. Many of these transmitters are capable of “mixing” several functions at once, which is required for some models.
Many of the most popular hobby grade radios were first developed, and mass-produced in Southern California by Orbit, Bonner, Kraft, Babcock, Deans, Larson, RS, S&O, and Milcott. Later, Japanese companies like Futaba, Sanwa and JR took over the market.
Coming soon – a directory of RC Hobby Shops in South Africa