They might be most familiar to you 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 of the United Kingdom.
Vast sums are being spent on civilian drone projects, in everything from police surveillance to amateur photography.
In the United States, Congress has told the US airspace regulator to open up North America to drones by 2015.
We could follow suit by the end of the decade. But are we ready for a world in which thousands of drones are patrolling our skies?