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Not with-standing these advances, the military also expressed concern over the frequency of crashes among the current generation of UAVs. Although the crashes are less deadly because they have no pilots on board, their frequency still shows that bugs need to be worked out or that operators need more training.
"Furthermore, the high cost of these platforms is still a barrier to their adoption, especially for the civilian adoption," says Sabesan. "While the cost of UAVs is generally lower than that of a manned platform, in some cases, it is quite close to the manned equivalent."
Powering aerial surveillance platforms has been an area of concern as it relates directly to endurance and can also influence the effectiveness of the platform. While manned platforms have always been powered by fossil fuels, unmanned platforms have seen a variety of choices ranging from fossil fuel engines to electric motors and fuel cells. Solar power is emerging as a viable option and fuel cells, as they become more efficient, represent a good choice since they combine the silence of an electric power train with the endurance of fossil fuels.
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