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What are the most sophisticated drones capable of? © BAE Systems

What are the most sophisticated drones capable of?

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There are some pretty advanced drones out there, but you might not even be able to spot them.

Asked by: Tom Fisher, Leeds

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Drones are radio-controlled flying gadgets with several propellers that may be used for filming, racing, and in the future perhaps even widespread delivery of parcels.

Military drones resemble small aircraft with no pilots. Some can take off, fly and land by themselves. They can perform surveillance over enemy territory or even deploy missiles to attack specific targets in dangerous places where we may not want to risk human pilots.

One of the most advanced today is the Taranis, a UK-built drone with a top speed of 1,127km/h (700mph) and 9.7m wingspan that is nearly invisible to radar.

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Authors

Dr Peter Bentley is a computer scientist and author who is based at University College London. He is the author of books including 10 Short Lessons in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and Digital Biology: How nature is transforming our technology and our lives.

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