Commander William Earl Fannin, Class of 1945, Capstone Essay Contest
A significant competition for airspace between manned and unmanned aircraft will begin within a few short years. By that time, the safety of UAVs must match that of their manned counterparts.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), despite many limitations, have significant tactical and technological advantages when compared to conventional manned aircraft. Two types-autonomous and remotely operated (teleoperated)-are in use today. Autonomous vehicles only require an operator to program waypoints, launch, and recover the aircraft. Once airborne, the autonomous aircraft tracks the predetermined path and completes its mission without human control. Most operational UAVs are teleoperated, which require a human pilot, and are flown much the same as a manned aircraft, except the pilot is not on board the craft and can be as far away as the other side of the world.