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special report

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

The Defense Department is increasingly using a technology known as UAVs -- commonly called "drones" -- in the Middle East. However, other agencies are using drones in other capacities, such as Homeland Security is also using them to patrol the border. The use of drones is controversial, as some have taken expressed privacy and other concerns.

United States Air Force

NASA Develops Biodegradable Drones

November 17, 2014 This biodegradable vehicle, developed to protect sensitive ecosystems, invited a closer look at the positive uses of drone technology.

The amphibious transport dock ship USS Ponce (LPD 15) steams through the Red Sea.

This US Navy Ship Is Now Armed With a Drone-Killing Laser Beam

November 17, 2014 Will the laser work in actual warfare? Nobody knows exactly.

Meet the Inventors, Tinkerers and Entrepreneurs Behind the Drone Revolution

October 15, 2014 Many enthusiasts see a future in which drones could prove as transformational—and as popular—as the personal computer.

Technicians examining the X-37B unmanned spaceplane shortly after landing Friday Dec. 3, 2010 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Top-Secret US Space Drone Returns to Earth

October 14, 2014 Experts say the highly classified plane—which returns to Earth today—could be testing spacecraft longevity or developing anti-satellite weapons.

A man takes a selfie with the White House in Washington, DC.

No More Selfie Elbow? Drones Could Soon Be Snapping Your Self Portraits

September 29, 2014 This device, now in development, introduces a new way to use drones.

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan.

What Does a Texas Megachurch Have to Say About Drones?

August 28, 2014 One pastor is using drones as a metaphor.

So What Exactly Is a 'Killer Robot'?

August 20, 2014 Why so many groups are against them, but haven't agreed on what they are

A Bhutanese woman carries her baby on her back as she works on a mountain roadside.

A Revolutionary Drone-Based Delivery Network Is Being Tested—in Bhutan

August 7, 2014 This drone project could save lives in far-flung rural communities—and perhaps pioneer the system globally.

'Ubiquitous As Pigeons': Imagining Life in the City of Drones

August 5, 2014 An online installation asks us to accept an all-but-certain future of drones in cities, and to rethink our relationship to them.

CIA Director John Brennan

Does John Brennan Know Too Much for Obama to Fire Him?

August 1, 2014 It's difficult to cross man with details on every secret drone strike you've authorized—especially the legally dubious ones.

The Rise of the Wedding Drone

July 18, 2014 Drones can take photos, even stand in as the ring bearer. But are they legal?

The pan-European stealth combat drone demonstrator Neuron is seen at the Istres air base unit, near Marseille, southern France.

The Democratization of Drone Warfare

July 14, 2014 Once a symbol of outright American military superiority, drones are on their way to becoming an ordinary weapon of war.

Amazon Wants Early Permission to Launch its Delivery Drones

July 11, 2014 Just don’t expect one at your front porch anytime soon.

An unmanned drone used to patrol the U.S.-Canadian border.

Obama Wants Drones to Be Part of Border Migration Solution

July 8, 2014 Proposed emergency funding contains $39 million for aerial surveillance, including unmanned aircraft operations.

At This School, You Can Check Out Drones Like Library Books

June 24, 2014 Instead of a library card, you'll need training, a professor's endorsement, and a willingness to assume liability for accidents.

Steve Capachietti pilots his drone with video camera attached on the bottom while taking video.

Hollywood Producers Want to Use Drones to Film Their Movies

June 3, 2014 If the FAA approves, filmmakers could be among the first to use commercial drones.

Members of ground staff inspect an engine of a Lufthansa aircraft at Tegel airport in Berlin.

What Happens if a Drone Gets Sucked Into a Passenger Jet Engine

May 15, 2014 Last week’s near-collision between a hobby drone and a passenger aircraft portends what could happen as the sky gets a lot more crowded.

Suspected North Korean drones that were recently found crashed near the border with the North are unveiled by the state-run Agency for Defense Development during a press conference in Daejeon, South Korea.

North Korea Apparently Has Drones and South Korea Found Some of Them

May 8, 2014 The discovery has fueled worry that the secretive and erratic northern country might soon use armed drones against South Korea.

Why You Can't Fly a Drone at Yellowstone

May 7, 2014 The National Park Service says its ban on drones doesn’t just apply to Yosemite.

Indian workers walk past solar panels at the 200 megawatt Gujarat Solar Park.

Want More Renewable Energy? Send in the Drones

April 30, 2014 Out in the desert it's hard to know when one solar panel among millions has failed. Unless you're a drone.

Runners wait to start the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Mass.

Sooner or Later, Security Drones Will Be Hovering Over Major Marathons

April 22, 2014 Sprawling, citywide events such as marathons present a particularly thorny security problem.

A drone flies at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Americans Think Drones Are Creepier Than Google Glass

April 17, 2014 People are, unsurprisingly, distrustful of unmanned aerial vehicles.

An unmanned drone RQ-7A "Shadow" lands at an American military base in Baqouba, Iraq.

Repurposing Old Drones to Bring Wi-Fi to War Fighters

April 15, 2014 DARPA’s turning unmanned aerial vehicles into very mobile hotspots.

Titan Aerospace's Solara 50 aircraft

Google Just Bought the Drone Company that Facebook Had Its Eye On

April 15, 2014 The drone maker will help Google with its "Project Loon" initiative, which looks to provide internet access to remote areas.

Facebook Predicts Future Internet Powered by Drones and Lasers

March 28, 2014 Mark Zuckerberg sets his sights on bringing the Web to "every person in the world."

An unmanned aircraft used to monitor a farm in Kendrick, Idaho.

These Companies Are Mining the World’s Data by Selling Street Lights and Farm Drones

March 25, 2014 The drones collect data on crops from hundreds of feet above.

A Quick Review of Where Commercial Drones Stand

March 20, 2014 The FAA wants to clear up the confusion. Here's a helpful guide.

A drone fitted with a camera flies in South Africa.

Making the Case That Africa Needs Drones More Than Roads

March 17, 2014 The Flying Donkey Challenge will support the development of drones that can be used to carry goods to market and deliver medication to remote villages.

Texas A&M Corpus Christi researchers prepare a unmanned aircraft system for testing at a ranch near Sarita, Texas.

Analysis: Drones Herald the End of the Age of the Gun

March 11, 2014 Drones will cause an upheaval of society like we haven’t seen in 700 years.

A multi-rotor hexacopter, an unmanned aircraft that was purchased to monitor a farm in Kendrick, Idaho

Feds Again Ground Commercial Drone Use

March 10, 2014 The FAA is appealing a judge’s ruling that a ban on commercial drones lacks proper authority.

NASA's Morpheus lander

The NASA Rocket That Hovers Like a Helicopter (But Could Land on Mars)

March 7, 2014 Today, Florida. Tomorrow, Mars.

Federal Judge Dismisses FAA Fine Against Drone Operator

March 7, 2014 The fine was the first leveled by the Federal Aviation Administration over the commercial use of unmanned aircraft.

Facebook’s Drones Could Bring Internet to the Developing World—and Stick it to Mobile Carriers

March 4, 2014 Facebook is in talks to buy a drone company Titan Aerospace, which is developing autonomous solar-powered aircraft.

DHS' Jeh Johnson, a former top Pentagon lawyer, formulated the White House policy on lethal drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia.

U.S. Border Drones Need 'Further Refined' Privacy Policies, DHS Chief Says

February 26, 2014 But security is still Jeh Johnson's priority, the department's new secretary tells Congress.

Steve Capachietti pilots his drone with video camera attached on the bottom while taking video at the "Great Rotary Fishing Derby" on Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H.

Your Local TV News Station Would Like to Buy a Drone

February 25, 2014 A recent case in Connecticut is testing whether remote-controlled reporting could one day be a real option.

Drones Are Finally Driving the U-2 Spy Plane out of Business

February 24, 2014 The U.S. military is becoming more digital, specialized, and automated—just like the rest of the world.

A drone camera follows Norway's Aleksander Aurdal during the men's ski slopestyle final at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The Best Cameramen at the Olympics Are Drones

February 18, 2014 The use of unmanned aerial vehicles for sports photography is far from a passing gimmick.

Feds Shoot Down Drone Delivery of Valentine's Day Flowers

February 12, 2014 Your red roses and blue violets just got grounded.

Feds Shoot Down Beer Delivery by Drone

January 30, 2014 It seemed like a foolproof business model, but the FAA says it’s illegal.

Why the Real Estate Industry Is Interested in Drones, Too

January 30, 2014 They're quickly changing the art of visualizing buildings.