reading-test

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 4 Section 3

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 4 Section 3

Go back to Section 1 | Go back to Section 2

This free IELTS reading test (Academic Module) has the same question types, content style, length and difficulty as a standard IELTS test. To get started simply scroll down to read the texts and answer the questions.

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 4 Section 3Looking for more reading practice tests? Our online course has over 15 complete practice tests as well as end of lesson tests and reading texts used in the lessons.

When you have finished the test,make a note of the number of correct answers check your score with our band score converter.


Section 3:

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.


 

THE NON-MILITARY USES OF UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES

 

A. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles has grown dramatically over the past decade or so, in no small part due to the fact that some of these machines are able to remain airborne for longer periods of time than more conventional manned aircraft. At the same time, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), and remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), nowadays commonly referred to as drones, are generally credited with being both more cost-effective to operate and maintain, as well as safer to use, than piloted aircraft. The term drone may also refer to small electric helicopters fitted with two or more rotors which are flown by remote control.


 

B. Today, drones are being used with increasing frequency for military operations by a number of countries in combat, surveillance and reconnaissance roles. These machines tend to be larger than non-military drones and are, in the main, powered by jet or gas engines. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the use of drone technology has gained a measure of notoriety as a result of their growing prominence in military roles, which have been widely publicised in television, online and print media during the last decade and a half, leading to criticism of their application in this arena on both ethical and legal grounds.


 

C. While originally and currently still primarily used for military purposes, the rapid growth and development in drone technology during the early twenty-first century has led some experts to predict that, by 2020, there will be approximately 30,000 licensed drones operating in the skies above the United States alone. It has also been estimated that the economic value of the commercial drone market will rise in value to around $90 billion globally during the next five years, as well as create as many as 150,000 new jobs by 2025. A projection by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International estimates that agricultural applications will one day account for approximately 80 percent of commercial drone use.

 

D. One development related to the commercial use of drones which has perhaps received the greatest amount of news and media coverage in recent years is the establishment of Amazon Prime Air in December 2013 by the US-based online retail giant, Amazon.com. At this stage, Amazon Prime Air’s drone-based delivery system for its customers’ purchases remains very much a work in progress, although the company has been granted permission by the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to begin testing its current prototypes under certain restrictions.

 

E. As far as aerial filming and photography are concerned, commercial drones have a number of applications in industries ranging from those of movie production and the news media, to real estate, telecommunications and security. More specific uses in these fields include, though are by no means limited to, taking promotional photos and videos for commercial and residential properties on the market, filming breaking-news stories and live sports events, producing footage from unique perspectives for movies and carrying out security and surveillance functions in the detection of criminal activity and identification of criminals.

 

F. In addition to the delivery of consumer products and other commercial applications, non-military drones are gaining popularity for use in search and rescue operations. Drone-mounted cameras enable unmanned aerial vehicles to follow pre-programmed search patterns when looking for missing persons and victims of natural disasters across a variety of otherwise inaccessible terrain types, including marine environments. With the addition of infrared thermal imaging camera technology, drones can also carry out search and rescue missions after dark, with much greater manoeuvrability and at less cost than using a helicopter, for example.

 

G. These days, drones are increasingly being used by national government agencies and local authorities for a variety of purposes outside of the private sector. Transport agencies, both road and rail, make use of unmanned aerial vehicles for monitoring traffic flow and reporting accidents and hazards, while civil planners utilise the technology to assist with mapping and surveying work. Fire departments in some jurisdictions now rely on UAVs to help them reduce risks and costs when fighting fires in both urban and rural areas, while customs and law enforcement agencies also employ drone technology in protecting citizens and borders through monitoring and surveillance.

 

H. In terms of the natural world, scientists and researchers are turning to drones with greater frequency to monitor, document and assess changes in the health, movement and distribution of flora and fauna, as well as pollution, weather and the climate, both conveniently and cost-effectively. Unmanned aircraft are today being used not only in environmental and ecological research, but also as cutting-edge tools to assist in wildlife conservation efforts. In the latter capacity, drone technology is now being used by both governmental agencies and non-governmental organisations in the surveillance and prevention of illegal hunting and poaching of a number of endangered species.

 

I. While advocates of drones are quick to point out all of the many benefits that the machines can bring to society and the planet, the technology is not without its critics. Those opposed to the growing use of unmanned aerial vehicles cite a number of negative aspects related to the seemingly inexorable rise of drones and their myriad possible applications in our lives. These include logistical concerns such as the comparatively short flight times of smaller UAVs (presently between 30 and 45 minutes) and their operational limitations in terms of spatial mobility. Other perceived disadvantages are safety risks, in the potential for collisions across increasingly crowded airspace, and even the adverse effects drones may have on the natural environment, particularly as contributors to noise pollution.

 

J. Whether for commercial or recreational applications or being used as tools to assist those working in the public sector, it would appear that the numerical proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as their numerous potential uses, means that the impact of drone technology in our lives is only set to increase. While there are undoubtedly issues yet to be resolved regarding the use of drones, particularly in relation to regulatory oversight and legal restrictions on the part of relevant authorities, the futuristic technology afforded us in the form of these robotic vehicles indicates that not the sky, but rather the solar system and beyond, may be the limit.

 


Questions 27-33

Reading Passage 3 has ten paragraphs, A-J.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A-H, in boxes 27-32 on our answer sheet.

NB   You may use any letter more than once.

27     drone technology for use in farming
Show answer C Paragraph C states: “A projection by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International estimates that agricultural applications will one day account for approximately 80 percent of commercial drone use.”

28     potential drawbacks of non-military drones
Show answerI Paragraph I details “a number of negative aspects related to the seemingly inexorable rise of drones and their myriad possible applications in our lives.

29     the sale of housing
Show answerE Paragraph E reads: “commercial drones have a number of applications in industries ranging from those of movie production and the news media, to real estate, telecommunications and security. More specific uses in these fields include, though are by no means limited to, taking promotional photos and videos for commercial and residential properties on the market…”

30     the preservation of plants and animals
Show answerH Paragraph H states: “Unmanned aircraft are today being used not only in environmental and ecological research, but also as cutting-edge tools to assist in wildlife conservation efforts”

31     using drones at night
Show answer F Paragraph F states: “With the addition of infrared thermal imaging camera technology, drones can also carry out search and rescue missions after dark, with much greater manoeuvrability and at less cost than using a helicopter, for example”

32     employment opportunities related to UAVs
Show answer C Paragraph C reads: “It has also been estimated that the economic value of the commercial drone market will rise in value to be worth around $90 billion globally during the next five years, as well as create as many as 150,000 new jobs by 2025.”

33     the use of drones in monitoring automobiles
Show answer33 G Paragraph G states: “Transport agencies, both road and rail, make use of unmanned aerial vehicles for monitoring traffic flow and reporting accidents and hazards, while civil planners utilise the technology to assist with mapping and surveying work.”

 

Questions 34-38

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3?

In boxes 38-40 on your answer sheet, write

  • TRUE                     if the statement agrees with the information
  • FALSE                   if the statement contradicts the information
  • NOT GIVEN         if there is no information on this

34      Drones are often cheaper to use than manned aircraft.
Show answer TRUE Paragraph A states that drones “are generally credited with being both more cost-effective to operate and maintain… …than piloted aircraft”

35       In the future, the majority of private sector drones are likely to be used in farming.
Show answer TRUE Paragraph C states: “A projection by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International estimates that agricultural applications will one day account for approximately 80 percent of commercial drone usage.”

36       Amazon is presently using drones to deliver items purchased online.
Show answer FALSE Paragraph D states that “Amazon Prime Air’s drone-based delivery system for its customers’ purchases remains very much a work in progress…”

37       Drone technology is used to help rescue people lost at sea.
Show answerTRUE Paragraph F states: “Drone-mounted cameras enable unmanned aerial vehicles to follow pre-programmed search patterns when looking for missing persons and victims of natural disasters across a variety of otherwise inaccessible terrain types, including marine environments…

38       Drones contribute to air pollution.
Show answer NOT GIVEN While Paragraph I mentions noise pollution, air pollution is NOT specifically mention in the passage. Questions 39-40

Choose TWO letters, A-E.

Which TWO of the following are mentioned as being risks or drawbacks associated with drone technology?

  • A      the cost of fighting fires
  • B      duration of flights
  • C       criminal activity
  • D       mid-air collisions
  • E       the unstoppable rise of drones

39.  Show answer B or D – Paragraph I mentions both “comparatively short flight times of smaller UAVs” and “the potential for collisions across increasingly crowded airspace” as “negative aspects related to the seemingly inexorable rise of drones”.

40.  Show answer B or D – Paragraph I mentions both “comparatively short flight times of smaller UAVs” and “the potential for collisions across increasingly crowded airspace” as “negative aspects related to the seemingly inexorable rise of drones”.

 

 Completed the reading test? Check your band score using the band score converter

Please help us reach more people by sharing!

Comments