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About this Article
Written by: Brandon Krikorian
Written on: May 3rd, 2005
Tags: aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, security & defense
Thumbnail by: US Airforce/Tree Hugger
About the Author
Brandon Krikorian was a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He works as a Systems Engineer for the Boeing Company in Huntington Beach, CA.
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Volume VIII Issue II > UAVs: Engineering in Action
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are a fusion of many engineering disciplines. They are the premier platform for advanced communication, surveillance, and propulsion technologies. While they have recently garnered most of their press on the battlefield, an emerging commercial sector is attempting to make them part of everyday life.

Introduction

Anyone paying even the slightest attention to America's war on terror would have noticed the emergence of a seemingly new technology, the unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV. UAVs have revolutionized the battlefield; aircraft, such as the RQ-1 Predator shown above, combine the latest in aerodynamics, telecommunications, and signal processing technologies to benefit America's soldiers. The United States military has utilized this technological upper hand and parlayed it into both psychological and physical advantages.
The versatility of these platforms is demonstrated in press reports ranging from attacks on terrorist leaders and infrastructure to search and rescue efforts after natural disasters. While UAVs have garnered more press today than when they were first developed, their mission remains the same: to allow the safe surveillance or targeting of an area [1]. To fully appreciate the value of UAVs, we must look at their history, features, and future in the commercial market.