Rise of the Drones

Nova: Rise of the Drones
Premieres Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 9pm, on WGBH 2

Drones. These unmanned flying robots — some as large as jumbo jets, others as small as birds — do things straight out of science fiction. 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 operate drones for the US military, Nova reveals the amazing technologies that make them so powerful. Discover the cutting-edge technologies that are propelling us toward a new chapter in aviation history.


See Spy Photos
A surveillance-image specialist analyzes photos of Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, and other political hotspots.

Imaging With Radar
See what synthetic aperture radar, like that used by spy planes, can reveal in this picture of Washington, DC.

Where Combat Planes Retire
At an Air Force base in Arizona, thousands of aged fighters and bombers await a call to duty — or to the scrapyard.

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