What are your opinions on unmanned aerial vehicles?
- Unmanned aerial vehicles are aircraft that are controlled remotely, and therefore do not carry any humans.
- ‘Unmanned aerial vehicles’ are also known as ‘unpiloted aerial vehicles’, ‘unmanned aircraft’, ‘remotely piloted aircraft’, ‘drones’, ‘UAVs’, ‘UA’ and ‘RPA’, among others.
- Early unmanned aerial vehicles were balloon bombs, manufactured in Europe’s Austria, and were used on Italy’s Venice during the middle of the 19th century; and in the early 20th century, drones were developed for use as target practice by the military.
- Numerous countries have stated it is illegal to possess and fly unmanned aerial vehicles under normal circumstances, and government consent is usually required.
- Unmanned aerial vehicles come in a variety of sizes and shapes, from small robots to life-sized aeroplanes, and they have been used during dangerous missions, such as rescue, to scout, or to broadcast, among others, and have been used extensively as military tools.
An American Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Image courtesy of Marian Doss/Flickr
- Large organisations, such as Google, Amazon, military groups and America’s Central Intelligence Agency, investigate and develop unmanned aerial vehicles for their organisation’s purposes.
- In 2006, the United States were the leading manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles, producing more than 60% of the worldwide total, and the machines have become a popular choice for some purposes, due to their relatively low cost.
- As of 2014, the longest flight time recorded of an unmanned aerial vehicle was 330 hours and 22 minutes, which is just over 14 days, and this world record was set by the ‘Zephyr’, which was built by a United Kingdom based company, QinetiQ.
- It is against the law to shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles, however if a drone manages to damage something such as a kite, tethered balloon or other property, the offending drone company is liable to be sued.
- Film producers, farmers, real estate agents and some lawyers, among others, have shown particular interest in commercial unmanned aerial vehicles, however use of drones for various purposes requires a legal framework to operate under, especially regarding privacy laws, and legislation concerning their use is yet to be passed in some countries.