IN PICTURES: 15 current and future uses for drones

For a world already on edge about NSA spying, drone technology is just another reason to keep looking over our shoulders.

Long wing of the law Law enforcement use of drones is on the rise. Drones are considered an affordable alternative for local and state law enforcement officials to owning a helicopter. The cost savings, according to Texas' Montgomery County Sherriff's Office, is $30 an hour to operate a Shadowhawk drone versus $500 an hour for a helicopter.

The police helicopter-style drone pictured here comes equipped with a high-definition camera and infrared sensors for detecting and tracking objects from below. Mesa County has purchased a second drone from Falcon UAV that it credits for locating lost hikers in a remote area.

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