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Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), drones are aircraft that are either controlled wirelessly by pilots from the ground or pre-programmed to fly autonomously. They can carry cameras, sensors, and other devices, integrating radio control, wireless communications, and internal navigation technologies, which enable them to be used for surveillance of various kinds in the public and private sectors. Developed and conceived originally for the military and law enforcement, drones are currently expanding into the commercial industry as well as civilian and public safety sectors. This entry focuses on the commercial application and possible uses of drones—with discussions on UAVs’ capabilities; regulations concerning their federal, commercial, and private use; and potential violations of privacy through the use of drones for ...

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