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The Droning of the Drones The increasingly advanced technology of surveillance and control

By Volker Eick

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones has increased in recent years, but not only in the military and intelligence fields. These re- usable vehicles are increasingly used in the civil sector, an expression of the increasing convergence between military, intelligence and civil security policy, economy, technology and research.

Drones are technological systems that operate unmanned (guided by the US Global Positioning System, GPS, for example) or by remote control. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or systems (UVS) can be as small as an insect or as large as a charter flight. [1] Despite their multiple uses, the market for UAVs is still relatively small although it has a high growth potential. A recent market study by the US-based American Teal Group, for instance, predicted the production of 3,328 UAVs globally in 2009, implying 28,658 newly produced UAVs by 2018 and an equivalent increase in turn- over from the current 4.4 billion USD to 8.7 billion USD. [2] In 2007, 259 companies produced UAVs for 42 countries. [3] The same year, 108 companies built about 200 similar vehicles in Europe (56 in France, 45 in the United Kingdom and 31 in Germany). German producers include AirRobot GmbH, Diehl BGT Defence Ltd., EADS, EMT, Imar Navigation, Mavionics, MicroDrones, Rheinmetall Defence, SIM Security and UAV S&S. [4]

In the international arena, the UAV market [5] is dominated by Israel which, according to the Stockholm-based International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), is responsible for around 68% of the global trade. [6] However, the Teal group study indicates that the USA will take over 70% of the future market because of an increasing interest by the US military, which in turn is linked to a "general trend towards information warfare". The study finds that "UAVs are a key element in the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) part of this revolution". [7]

Murder at the click of a mouse

Experiments with military UAVs started as early as World War One. [8] Their mass deployment, however, began in the 1960s and 1970s in North Korea, China and especially during the Vietnam war. In 1982, drones were used in the


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