An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot on board. Its flight is controlled either autonomously by computers in the vehicle, or under the remote control of a pilot on the ground or in another vehicle.

There are a wide variety of drone shapes, sizes, configurations, and characteristics. Historically, UAVs were simple remotely piloted aircraft, but autonomous control is increasingly being employed.

They are deployed predominantly for military applications, but also used in a small but growing number of civil applications, such as policing, firefighting and nonmilitary security work, such as surveillance of pipelines. UAVs are often preferred for missions that are too "dull, dirty, or dangerous" for manned aircraft.[1]

An unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) is a vehicle that operates while in contact with the ground and without an onboard human presence. UGVs can be used for many applications where it may be inconvenient, dangerous, or impossible to have a human operator present. Generally, the vehicle will have a set of sensors to observe the environment, and will either autonomously make decisions about its behavior or pass the information to a human operator at a different location who will control the vehicle through teleoperation.

The UGV is the land-based counterpart to unmanned air vehicles and remotely operated under water vehicles. Unmanned robotics are being actively developed for both civilian and military use to perform a variety of dull, dirty, and dangerous activities.[2]

The term unmanned surface vehicle (USV) or autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) refers to any vehicle that operates on the surface of the water without a crew. USVs have been tested since World War II but have been largely overshadowed. This is due to the fact the USVs have been classified as Autonomous Underwater Vehicles.[3]

An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is a robot which travels underwater without requiring input from an operator. AUVs constitute part of a larger group of undersea systems known as unmanned underwater vehicle a classification that includes non-autonomous remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) – controlled and powered from the surface by an operator/pilot via an umbilical or using remote control. In military applications AUVs are more often referred to simply as unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs).[4]

Drones are male honeybees. They develop from eggs that have not been fertilized, and they cannot sting, since the worker bee's stinger is a modified ovipositor (an egg laying organ).[5]

An unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV), also known as a combat drone or drone, is an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) that is armed with weaponry and has no onboard human pilot. Currently operational drones are predominantly under real-time human control.[6]


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