Paul Applewhite of Applewhite Aero isn't allowed to fly this 3-pound Styrofoam plane. That's because he has added circuitry to make it autonomous — it can find its way to specified coordinates — which means it's an unmanned aerial vehicle requiring a special testing permit. Martin Kaste/NPR hide caption

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An unmanned drone patrols the U.S.-Canadian border. Attorney General Eric Holder, in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said the president could in an "extraordinary circumstance" order a drone strike inside the country. U.S. Customs and Border Protection /AP hide caption

itoggle caption U.S. Customs and Border Protection /AP

Joe Kummer, president of Propulsive Wing in Elbridge, N.Y., is rooting for having a drone test site in upstate New York. He says it could save him trips to the West Coast to try out new drone prototypes. Ryan Delaney/WRVO hide caption

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Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announces a new medal that recognizes combat contributions made far from the battlefield. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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John Brennan, President Obama's nominee to be the next CIA director, worked closely with Saudi Arabia to set up a secret U.S. drone base there, The New York Times reported. Brennan's confirmation hearing is Thursday. Kevin Dietsch /UPI /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Kevin Dietsch /UPI /Landov

AeroVironment's Raven drone is used for military surveillance and can be launched by hand. Courtesy of AeroVironment Inc. hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of AeroVironment Inc.

Alice Beauheim, her father and Bill Love fly their homemade machines at the Drone Smackdown in Manassas, Va., on Sunday. Objections by the Federal Aviation Administration forced organizers to hold the tongue-in-cheek contest outside of Washington, D.C. John Procter hide caption

itoggle caption John Procter

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan in 2010. Apple has rejected an app that tracks U.S. drone strikes around the world. Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

Brian Bills, a flight operations analyst for Lockheed Martin, demonstrates the Procerus VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) Flight System — a surveillance drone for commercial, civil and military customers — at the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference in Las Vegas. (Watch a demo video.) Kainaz Amaria/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Kainaz Amaria/NPR