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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.

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. Its flight is controlled either autonomously by onboard computers or by the remote control of a pilot on the ground or in another vehicle. The typical launch and recovery method of an unmanned aircraft is by the function of an automatic system or an external operator on the ground. and also referred to as an unpiloted aerial vehicle and a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. ICAO classify unmanned aircraft into two types under Circular 328 AN/190:

  1. Autonomous aircraft – currently considered unsuitable for regulation due to legal and liability issues Remotely piloted aircraft – subject to civil regulation under ICAO and under the relevant national aviation authority
  2. The typical launch and recovery method of an unmanned aircraft is by the function of an automatic system or an external operator on the ground. Historically, UAVs were simple remotely piloted aircraft, but autonomous control is increasingly being employed.[not in citation given]. The Nazi-German V-1 flying bomb flew autonomously powered by a pulsejet.

They are usually deployed for military and special operation applications, but also used in a growing number of civil applications, such as policing and firefighting, and nonmilitary security work, such as inspection of power, pipelines, and real estate. UAVs are often preferred for missions that are too "dull, dirty or dangerous" for manned aircraft. There is also a growing enthusiast market for UAVs, particularly for videography and racing.

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