Remote sensing of the environment using unmanned aerial systems

Salvatore Manfreda, Eyal Ben Dor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Unmanned aerial systems (UASs), also termed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or, more commonly, drones, are rapidly—and even aggressively—penetrating the civilian, commercial, and military fields. The spread of this technology is due mainly to its simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and availability relative to other remote sensing means, such as manned air platforms or satellites. Accordingly, the demand for this technology by many users in many disciplines is growing rapidly. The commercial drone market is projected to be worth $13 billion by 2025, highlighting the importance of understanding all about drones’ characteristics—from technology to products. A wide range of practical civilian applications—including agriculture, aerial photography, and surveillance—are already in use, while others are evolving daily. Almost any application of manned aviation can be adopted by the UAS technology with clear advantages in terms of risk and cost reduction. Monitoring of the environment is one of the most important pillars of UAS today, as it provides routine and continuous coverage cost-effectively and in real-time. The practical stages for operating UAS for environmental monitoring, including technical aspects, scientific bases, and valuable recommendations, are thus critical. The purpose of this book is to provide this information, as well as a wide range of overviews for optimal utilization of the UAS for environmental monitoring, followed by technical aspects and the most recent information and examples. This introductory chapter aims to provide the background for this technology by covering the history of UAS, their commercial and social aspects, and currently available sensors and platforms along with their applications. This chapter provides a comprehensive literature review from the first UAS in 1849 (the balloon bomb) till today.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnmanned Aerial Systems for Monitoring Soil, Vegetation, and Riverine Environments
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9780323852838
ISBN (Print)9780323852845
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • UAS
  • UAV
  • drones
  • environmental monitoring
  • remote sensing
  • social and economic issues


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