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In the past few decades, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become promising mobile platforms capable of navigating semiautonomously or autonomously in uncertain environments. The level of autonomy and the flexible technology of these flying robots have rapidly evolved, making it possible to coordinate teams of UAVs in a wide spectrum of tasks. These applications include search and rescue missions; disaster relief operations, such as forest fires ; and environmental monitoring and surveillance. In some of these tasks, UAVs work in coordination with other robots, as in robot-assisted inspection at sea . Recently, radio-controlled UAVs carrying radiation sensors and video cameras were used to monitor, diagnose, and evaluate the situation at Japans Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant facility .
Date of Publication: Sept. 2012