Segments in this Video

Rise of the Drones: Introduction (01:59)


Drones are revolutionizing warfare. This segment orients viewers to drone technology and its social acceptance with film excerpts. (Sponsors)

Drone Revolution (02:41)

The U.S. has more than 2,300 manned fighter planes; drones are beginning to replace them. The Pentagon relies on 10,000 drones. Learn facts about the Raven, the Predator, and the Global Hawk.

Holloman Air Force Base (02:56)

The base is the largest training center for remotely piloted aircraft. Capt. Chad teaches pilots to fly the MQ-1. Learn the Predator's physical characteristics and capabilities.

Controlling Drones by Satellite (03:01)

Remote pilots work out of small ground trailers. Predator and Reaper pilots have killed thousands since 2001. See a clip from Iraq. Capt. Chad flies the Reaper in a New Mexico exercise.

Reaper Training Exercise (02:36)

Capt. Chad works with his Sensor Operator, Jay and a ground soldier. The decision to kill a target can come from a number of individuals. Learn about the drone's weapons system.

Revolution in Warfare (03:13)

Compare military intelligence gathering and targeting from WWII through today. Pilot Tony Bevacqua recalls the SR-71's speed; he is one of 12 men to operationally pilot the U-2 and the SR-71.

U-2 Pilot Downed (01:55)

Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960 and imprisoned for over two years. Learn about unmanned aircraft capabilities and limitations since WWII.

Abe Karem: Father of the Predator (03:26)

See Karem's first prototype and learn the Albatross' characteristics. Karem discusses creating new drone designs. Albatross soon evolved into Amber. DARPA supported new technologies.

Fighting Non-State Enemies (01:43)

By the mid-90s, Karem's design became the Predator. He discusses the purpose of his UAVs. In October, 2001, an armed Predator was used in Afghanistan.

One Year Education Program (03:42)

Instruction begins on video simulators. See a real strike in Iraq and aftermath footage from a 2005 strike. In 2012, the U.S. carried out hundreds of strikes in four countries.

Drone Controversy (02:15)

Some claim that strikes violate international law. In 2012, the U.S. acknowledged targeted drone strikes against Al Qaeda.

Drone Sensors (01:54)

Learn about drone visual sensor limitations and possible consequences. See portions of a 2010 transcript of a strike gone wrong.

ARGUS (02:52)

Learn the capabilities of this UAV visual sensor designed by Yiannis Antoniades.

World's Highest Definition Camera (01:51)

ARGUS uses 368 chips to create a 1.8 billion pixel video stream. UAVs are the perfect platform for ARGUS. The U.S. Air Force can archive every video off of every UAV.

Drone Crash (03:21)

The $100 million Global Hawk is three times more likely to crash than the U-2. In 2011, the RQ-170 Sentinel was lost over Iran. Experts discuss taking over control of a drone and reasons drones crash.

Autonomous Drones (02:30)

Vijay Kumar designs drones that do not need external links and can sense their environment.

Autonomous Communication (01:45)

In the lab, drones communicate through a central computer that uses motion capture. A new drone uses a laser range finder to determine obstacle distance and a 3D depth camera.

Domestic Drones (03:01)

Corey Brixen discusses his drone hobby. The Border Patrol, police, and individuals use drones for various purposes. Senator Rand Paul proposed legislation limiting domestic use.

Drones Arms Race (04:02)

Iran announced it has an armed drone. The U.S. is constantly developing new technologies. See the Switchblade and the X-47B prototype. Experts discuss future drone autonomy.

Unanticipated Events (01:48)

Experts discuss the importance of human beings in a tactical environment and the future of drones.

Credits: Rise of the Drones (01:23)

Credits: Rise of the Drones

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Rise of the Drones

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Drones. These unmanned flying robots — some as large as jumbo jets, others as small as birds — do things straight out of science fiction that can both amaze — and horrify. Much of what it takes to get these robotic airplanes to fly, sense and kill has remained secret. But now, with unprecedented access to drone engineers (including a rare interview with the “Father of the Predator,” Abe Karem) and those who fly them for the U.S. military, NOVA reveals the amazing technologies that make drones so powerful. Discover the cutting-edge technologies that are propelling us toward a new chapter in aviation history, as NOVA gets ready for “The Rise of the Drones.”

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL58696

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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