Unmanned aerial vehicle

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without any human pilot, crew, or passengers on board. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which includes adding a ground-based controller and a system of communications with the UAV.[1] The flight of UAVs may operate under remote control by a human operator, as remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA), or with various degrees of autonomy, such as autopilot assistance, up to fully autonomous aircraft that have no provision for human intervention.[2][3]

Elbit Systems Hermes-450 unmanned aircraft takeoff
Northrop Grumman Bat carrying EO/IR and SAR sensors, laser range finders, laser designators, infra-red cameras
A DJI Phantom quadcopter UAV for commercial and recreational aerial photography
A General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, a hunter-killer surveillance UAV
Although most military UAVs are fixed-wing aircraft, rotorcraft designs (i.e., RUAVs) such as this MQ-8B Fire Scout are also used.
Prototype of Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik-B, a heavy UCAV

UAVs were originally developed through the twentieth century for military missions too "dull, dirty or dangerous"[4] for humans, and by the twenty-first, they had become essential assets to most militaries. As control technologies improved and costs fell, their use expanded to many non-military applications.[5][6] These include forest fire monitoring,[1] aerial photography, product deliveries, agriculture, policing and surveillance, infrastructure inspections, science,[7][8][9][10] smuggling,[11] and drone racing.


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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Unmanned aerial vehicle, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.