Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles, without a human pilot on board. Drones can also be fully autonomous, flying without any human intervention at all.
Drones provide a platform for surveillance, photography, sensing, transport and fun. The Predator drone developed in the 1990s has flown millions of hours and changed the way the US fights wars.
Engineers are developing "swarms" of drones that can work in concert, to carry more cargo, share inspection work, or share a military task. Privacy relating to drone use is becoming a regulatory issue, especially with improvements in augmented reality, facial recognition, thermal and infrared imaging.
Drones are being used in agriculture for aerial photography for farm management, for pest control depositing insect predators onto crops. Drones are used in construction, mining and utilities for inspection, photography and security.
Large drones are used by the military for surveillance and attack. Drones may be used for product delivery - blood, medical products, drugs. Drones can also be used as communications relays in remote environments.