In the PC game FTL: Faster Than Light crew members are needed for various tasks from running systems to fighting off enemy boarders to repairing damage to your ship. In fact, it is common that there are more tasks that need to be handled than you have crew members on your ship. In fact, since there is a hard limit of eight crew members for each ship, you may need to perform more tasks than crew members your ship can possibly hold. This is where support drones help. Support drones allow you to transfer some of those duties to your drone control system. This will cost you power and you will need to spend a single drone part at least once to create these drones, but once they are created, unless destroyed, they will permanently fulfill their duties. The following guide to support drones in FTL: Faster Than Light will help you decide which of these drones are best for your needs.
Anti-Personnel Drone (2 Power) – This drone is effectively a Rockman crew member that can’t do anything other than fight enemy boarders. It is slower than a normal crew member but has higher than normal health. Since you normally want your crew to be manning stations during a battle, this is one of the best ways to deal with intruders. If you use this drone, make sure that you have either upgrade your door system, manned it, or both. This will give the Anti-Personnel Drone time to move to the intruders while they are busy trying to get through a security door. Each time one of these is destroyed you will have to spend one of your drone parts to replace it, but it will stay around between battles assuming it survives. It is generally best to activate it as soon as you can so that it is always available, though you may choose to depower it during battles where the enemy doesn’t have a teleporter.
Hull Repair Drone (2 Power) – Arguably, this is not only the best support drone in the game, but one of the best pieces of equipment in the game. When deployed, this drone repairs 3-5 points on hull damage and then ceases to function. Hull repair usually costs between 2 to 4 scrap per point of damage. Drone parts only cost about 5 scrap each. This saves you tons of scrap and can repair your hull even when there aren’t stores anywhere nearby. More importantly, it can repair your hull during a battle, which no other piece of equipment in the game can. If you can manage to acquire this, you should, if for no other reason than the usefulness of this when facing the flagship. If you don’t have any other defense against missiles, this makes for a good backup option to more conventional defense options, because it will effectively remove the automatic hull damage that most missiles cause. In fact, it is better because a missile can miss, but this always successfully repairs.
System Repair Drone (1 Power) – Despite the name, this drone actually repairs hull breaches as well as systems. It is slower than a normal crew member, but has a number of advantages to make up for that. It doesn’t require oxygen and is fireproof, so it can safely repair a room no matter how dangerous that room is. It also can’t be attacked or damaged, so it can make repairs on rooms that are currently being sabotaged or bombarded by enemy attacks. If you use System Repair Drones, it is often a good idea to empty the majority of your ship of oxygen. This will decrease the chance of fires and make life harder for enemy boarders. Don’t empty any manned room of oxygen, obviously, and don’t ever empty the medbay or oxygen system of oxygen. In fact, the latter is one room that you need to prioritize with manning when using this drone, because the slow movement means that it may not be repaired before you start losing crew members if you don’t man it.