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Image: Pictured are (front to back, left to right) RQ-11A Raven, Evolution, Dragon Eye, NASA FLIC, Arcturus T-15, Skylark, Tern, RQ-2B Pioneer, and Neptune. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Daniel J. McLain

Civilian cousins of the unmanned military aircraft that have tracked and killed terrorists in the Middle East and Asia are in demand by police departments, border patrols, power companies, news organizations and others wanting a bird’s-eye view that’s too impractical or dangerous for conventional planes or helicopters to get.

Drones overhead could invade people’s privacy. The government worries they could collide with passenger planes or come crashing down to the ground, concerns that have slowed more widespread adoption of the technology.

“It’s going to be the next big revolution in aviation. It’s coming,” says Dan Elwell, the Aerospace Industries Association’s vice president for civil aviation.

Source: Joan Lowy for the Associated Press.

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