Technological innovation and increasingly diverse applications are two key drivers of the rapid expansion of UAS technology. The global defence budget for UAS procurement is expanding, and in the future the market for civilian UAVs is expected to outmatch that of the military. Agriculture, meteorology, conservation and border control are just a few of the diverse areas in which UAVs are making a significant impact; the author addresses all of these applications, looking at the roles and technology behind both fixed wing and rotorcraft UAVs.
Leading aeronautical consultant Reg Austin co-founded the Bristol International Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV) conferences in 1979, which are now the longest-established UAS conferences worldwide. In addition, Austin has over 40 years' experience in the design and development of UAS. One of Austin's programmes, the "Sprite UAV System" has been deployed around the world and operated by day and night, in all weathers.