Drone tried out in Newsnight studio
31 August 2012 Last updated at 10:48 BST
They might be most familiar to us from science fiction movies, or perhaps as high tech weapons in the skies over Iraq or Afghanistan.
But over the next decade, expect to see drones coming to the skies near you.
Vast sums are being spent on civilian drone projects, from police surveillance to amateur photography. And you can even own your own for about £200.
Newsnight asks whether we are ready for thousands of drones patrolling our skies, with the help of Noel Sharkey, professor of robotics at the University of Sheffield and a former presenter of the TV show Robot Wars, and Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading.