Are Pervasive Civilian Drones in Our Future?

A MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle prepares...

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Difference engine: Unblinking eye in the sky, by N.V., Science and Technology, The Economist, January 13, 2012

When drones are used even by environmental activists to track down Japanese whaling vessels, it is a sure sign that UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are no longer the sole prerogative of the military. Police forces around the world are certainly keen to lay their hands on small pilotless aircraft to help them nab fleeing criminals and monitor crime scenes from above. … Any civilian activity that would be improved by having an aerial view—monitoring traffic, checking electricity cables and pipelines, surveying forestry and crops, taking aerial photographs, patrolling wooded areas for fire—could benefit from the use of UAVs. …

For full text of this article, visit Civilian drones: Difference engine: Unblinking eye in the sky | The Economist.

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