A remotely piloted aircraft  or APR, commonly known as a drone , is an aircraft characterized by the absence of the human pilot on board. His flight is controlled by the computer on board the aircraft, under the remote control of a navigator or pilot, on the ground or in another vehicle.
The inclusion of the aircraft term underlines that, irrespective of the position of the pilot and / or flight crew, the operations must respect the rules and procedures of the aircraft with pilot and flight crew on board.
Their use is now consolidated for military use and is growing for civil applications, for example in operations of prevention and intervention in emergency fires, for non-military security purposes, for monitoring pipelines, for purposes of remote sensing and research, and more in general, in all cases where such systems can allow the execution of "boring, dirty and dangerous" missions (dull, dirty and dangerous) often with lower economic and ethical costs than traditional aircraft.
They are also known with other acronyms, many of which are of Anglo-Saxon derivation: in addition to RPA (Remotely piloted aircraft) they can be referred to as UAV (Unmanned aerial vehicle), RPV (Remotely piloted vehicle), ROA (Remotely operated aircraft) or UVS (Unmanned vehicle system), etc.