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Squadrons of aerial drones set to take to UK skies by 2023

Swarms of automated aerial drones will soon be a common sight in the skies above Britain, according to a prediction by the head of aviation safety at the Department for Transport.

Paul Cremin foresees a technological revolution comparable to the internet in the form of ‘detect and avoid’ software which will allow machines to take to the air in unprecedented numbers.

As with all technological revolutions there is the potential for good and ill with the mechanised eyes in the sky, with civil liberties campaigners with the prospect of high altitude, high resolution cameras keeping tabs on the movements of everyone below.

Cremin believes it could also transform the way we shop however with heftier machines used to winch goods direct to people’s homes, bypassing clogged road networks, an area Amazon has already invested in.

In areas where speed is of the essence, such as organ transplants, the impact could be even greater.

Cremin does not dispute the potential for surveillance but scotches any suggestion that they could be used offensively. He said: “People are becoming resourceful, in the same way as when the internet came on the scene and people were looking at different ways to use that technology . . . We hear a lot of stories about Amazon delivering goods to your door and I am sure there will be a lot more uses of this [technology].”

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