Britain's skies will be filled with drones in the next decade says aviation chief as unmanned aircraft are used for surveillance and even shopping deliveries
Drones could become common sight in Britain by 2023, it has been claimed
Technology could be used to revolutionise the way we shop, expert says
Department of Transport's head of aviation safety, Paul Cremin outlines future impact of unmanned aircraft
Amazon and Google have outlined plans to deliver packages using drones
Britain's skies will be filled with drones within ten years, according to one of the government's top aviation chiefs.
The sight of unmanned aircraft could become common place by 2023 once a 'detect and avoid' system is in place to ensure they can join the country's crowded airspace.
The technology will be used increasingly for surveillance purposes and by delivery firms in a move that could revolutionise the way we shop, according to Paul Cremin, the head of aviation safety at the Department for Transport.
The Times quotes him as saying: 'There are a number of civilian applications for this technology. I hear of a new one almost every day.
'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 use of this (technology).'
Amazon created a media frenzy in December 2013 when it outlined a plan to deliver packages with self-guided aircrafts.
In August, it was reported that the online retailer was asking the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to use drones as part of its plan to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.
The aircraft can travel at more than 50mph and carry loads of up to 5lbs. About 86 percent of Amazon's deliveries are 5lbs or less, the company said.
In the same month it was revealed that Google has built and tested self flying drones designed to deliver packages.
Called Project Wing, it is being developed at Google X, the company's secret research lab.
The firm says the drones could eventually be used for disaster relief by delivering aid to isolated areas - and for package delivery.
Separate trials have taken place to test their effectiveness in crop spraying and in conservation by tracking the movement of animals.
There are also hopes they could help to speed up the delivery of donor organs and monitor traffic and transport networks.
In April, it was revealed how criminals were using cheap kit bought from supermarkets to build heat seeking drones they can use to track down cannabis farms.
Tech-savvy thieves were reportedly buying drones for as little as £60 from supermarkets and attaching infra-red cameras to them, which they can monitor via an iPad.
By flying the modified drones over houses, they can locate the drug dens, as cannabis farms produce a large amount of heat. Burglars were said to be breaking in to the premises and stealing the crop to sell on the streets.
The Times reports that the House of Lords EU internal market, infrastructure and employment sub-committee this week discussed the question of whether there was a need for EU-wide drone legislation.
Mark Steyn from onDrone, a London-based company that sells custom drones, said use of the unmanned craft will increase over the next decade.
He said: 'Next year there is going to be limited use of driverless cars on the road. As people get used to that, the concept of having some little flying machine that comes to deliver you something will not be that far fetched.'