Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) - Enabled by Technology

Authors: 
Renee Puels

By definition, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are “remotely piloted or self-piloted aircraft that can carry cameras, sensors, communications equipment or other payloads”. 1  The first UAVs introduced in the early 1900s were rudimentary in design with limited operational use.  UAVs have now evolved into complex and extremely advanced autonomous systems capable of exploiting time and space due to the rapid technological revolution that continues today.  This transformation is a direct result of significant advances to navigational systems, data links, computer processing, and sensor technologies.  With the continued advances of these technologies, UAVs will be on the forefront of our globally integrated world impacting our daily lives as well as national security operations.  UAVs have already altered how certain military operations and business are currently conducted.  Therefore, it is imperative to detail these key technological innovations and breakthroughs thrusting UAVs to the forefront of the modern era.  Evaluating how these capabilities are applied and their impacts will illustrate the dramatic effect UAVs play in our daily lives as well as military operations.

Number: 
GMU-TCOM-TR-5
Year: 
2006
Key Words: 
UAV