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Coastal mapping flight
General Atomics' Altair UAV flew a coastal mapping, mammal observation and marine monitoring mission off the California coast in late 2005. It was organized by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, part of the Department of Commerce.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security already is using unmanned aircraft to patrol the Arizona border for illegal immigrants. Pictured here is the Israeli-built Hermes UAV, which has a price tag of around $2 million. It can fly in a radius of 120 miles for 20 hours at a cruising speed of about 90 miles an hour. Sensors can include GPS navigation, daylight video imaging, infrared imaging, laser ranging, radar, and GTMI (Ground Target Motion Indicator) analysis.
The CyberBug, from Cyber Defense Systems of St. Petersburg, Fla., is a hand-launched drone aircraft designed to be a surveillance tool for law enforcement agencies and the military. The cost starts at around $10,000 and includes cameras that can be changed for day or night use.