As the debate rages over the U.S. government's use of drones for military and other operations, unmanned vehicle technology is also starting to be used for a range of other applications, from law enforcement and agriculture to pipeline monitoring and commercial photography.
Perhaps not surprisingly, law enforcement agencies are at the forefront of domestic use of unmanned aircraft systems. For example, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in Texas uses "ShadowHawk," a 29-pound
unmanned helicopter with optional attachments such as a grenade launcher and shotgun. The mini-gunship outweighs the 25-pound limit for so-called "unmanned aerial systems," which is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration