An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is a type of aircraft that does not require a human pilot to operate. UAVs, commonly referred to as drones, can be either fully or partially autonomous, but are more often remotely controlled by a human operator. A drone is essentially a flying robot that can be operated remotely or fly autonomously using software-controlled flight plans and on-board sensors in combination with a global positioning system (GPS). UAVs are composed of the aircraft component, sensor payloads, and a ground control station.
Unmanned aerial vehicles are being used for a variety of purposes, such as military operations, disaster relief, and exploration of hazardous areas. After the shooting down of spy planes, the military began to explore the use of UAVs as an alternative. UAVs are also being used for payload delivery, traffic monitoring, moving objects in dangerous environments, and surveillance. Their rapid deployment and cost-effectiveness make them an attractive option for many applications.
UAVs can be equipped with sensors, target designators, offensive devices, or electronic transmitters designed to interfere with or destroy enemy targets. They are also being used in combination with the Internet of Things (IoT) for logistics, agriculture, and safety purposes. As a result of their increasing popularity, many universities now offer Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Unmanned Aircraft Systems.