An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), is an airborne craft without a human pilot on board. Its flight is either controlled autonomously via onboard computers, or by a pilot on the groundvia a remote. 

Historically, UAVs were simple remotely piloted aircraft, however autonomous control is becomming increasingly popular and has been shown to have significant advantages.A wide variety of UAV shapes, sizes, configurations, and characteristics have been designed and developed over the years, each one have specific advantages and disadvantages.

UAV's are predominantly deployed for military applications and are often preferred for missions that are "dull, dirty, or dangerous" for manned aircraft. 

However, in recent years, UAV's have been used increasingly for civil applications, such as firefighting and nonmilitary security work. They also have been used for scienticif as well as commercial and remote monitoring applications.