Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are aircraft without a human pilot, crew, or passengers on board. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which includes a ground controller and a communications system with the UAV. Remote-controlled aircraft and helicopters can also be classified as UAVs when they have particular types of performance and remote control capabilities. UAS stands for Unmanned (or Aerial) Aircraft System, and it covers not only the UAV, but also the person or equipment on the ground that controls the flight, as well as the system that connects the two.
UAVs have been around for over a century, with Britain's Aerial Target being the first tested in March 1917 and the American aerial torpedo known as the Kettering Bug first flying in October 1918. After the Vietnam War, countries outside Great Britain and the United States began exploring unmanned aerial technology. Israel pioneered the use of UAVs for real-time surveillance, electronic warfare, and decoys. Today, UAVs are used in many aspects of aviation, from payload delivery to traffic monitoring to moving objects in hazardous environments to surveillance. They are increasingly being used in a wide range of real-world applications due to their rapid and cost-effective deployment.
Unmanned aircraft systems consist of the aircraft component, sensor payloads, and a ground control station. Low-profile uses for UAVs include firefighting and police use, as well as other types of domestic surveillance. Recent technologies have enabled the development of many different types of advanced UAVs used for various purposes. These include remotely controlled, autonomously guided military aircraft carrying sensors, target designators, offensive devices, or electronic transmitters designed to interfere with or destroy enemy targets.
The proposed use of flying robots or UAVs to deliver packages is one example of how far this technology has come in a few decades. Unmanned aerial vehicles are now an everyday reality that can be used for a variety of purposes. From military operations to disaster relief to exploration of remote hazardous areas, UAVs are proving their worth in many different ways.