Unmanned aerial vehicle

aircraft without a human pilot aboard

An unmanned aerial vehicle (often called a drone) is an aircraft that is not operated by a pilot on board.

A group photo of aerial demonstrators at the 2005 Naval Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Air Demo

Drones may have an onboard computer to take care of adjustments to wind and changes in air pressure. Sometimes they are programmed to a particular target. Important decisions are usually supervised by people on the ground communicating by radio.

Large UAVs are mostly used by military forces, for example for reconnaissance. Some of them are programmed to be a target, to be shot at. A few carry weapons for unmanned combat. Drones also have civilian uses, such as firefighting or taking photographs.

Drones come in different sizes. Wingspans range from a few centimetres to about 60 metres (200 ft), the size of regular, manned aircraft.

Photographers mount cameras on drones for aerial photography. Google has built and tested drones, to be used for goods deliveries.[1] Some people use them in drone racing. Private drones are sometimes called a nuisance, even a danger.[2] In many countries they are forbidden near cities and airports and other things.


  1. Stewart, Jack 2014. Google tests drone deliveries in Project Wing trials. BBC News Technology. [1]
  2. Whitlock, Craig (2015-08-10). "Rogue drones a growing nuisance across the U.S." Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-19.