Google denies flying spy drones plan

Google has denied that it plans to use unmanned spy drones to gather information for its Google Maps service.

"Google is not testing or using this technology. This was a purchase by a Google executive with an interest in robotics for personal use," the company said this morning.

German business magazine Wirtshaftswoche reported that the company had bought a remote control, camera-equipped 'micro-drone' helicopter from German company Microdrones.

The company has already supplied unmanned aircraft to British police and special forces.

Sven Juerss, CEO of Microdrones, told the magazine that the tiny helicopter would be useful for Google's mapping projects, and that the company might buy more of the aircraft.

But today the search giant insisted that the miniature aircraft had been purchased by a company executive for his personal use, and that the company has no intention of using drones to gather mapping or any other type of data.

Google is no doubt anxious to allay fears about its data gathering methods, having only recently escaped legal action in the UK over Wi-Fi traffic data collected by its Street View cars. Investigations are still underway in other countries including Germany and the United States, where a class action lawsuit has been launched against the company.

It was reported last week that Google's Street View cars are back on the UK's roads.