Unmanned aerial vehicle

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without any human pilot, crew or passengers on board. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which include additionally a ground-based controller and a system of communications with the UAV.[1][2] The flight of UAVs may operate under remote control by a human operator, as remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA), or with various degrees of autonomy, such as autopilot assistance, up to fully autonomous aircraft that have no provision for human intervention.[3]

Northrop Grumman Bat carrying EO/IR and SAR sensors, laser range finders, laser designators, infra-red cameras
A DJI Phantom quadcopter UAV for commercial and recreational aerial photography
A General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, a hunter-killer surveillance UAV
Although most military UAVs are fixed-wing aircraft, rotorcraft designs (i.e., RUAVs) such as this MQ-8B Fire Scout are also used.
Unmanned Versatile Aircraft (originally a 2-seater Pipistrel Sinus)

UAVs were originally developed through the twentieth century for military missions too "dull, dirty or dangerous"[4] for humans, and by the twenty-first they had become essential assets to most militaries. As control technologies improved and costs fell, their use expanded to many non-military applications.[5][6] These include aerial photography, product deliveries, agriculture, policing and surveillance, infrastructure inspections, science,[7][8][9][10] smuggling,[11] and drone racing.