Other tech: radio controlled planes, building your own UAV

Here is some info on how hobbiest and businesses with some technical skill, some budget and the desire could make their own UAVs. There are currently few regulations for radio controlled planes and flyers that have a total weight less than 2 pounds. If this did not change then the improvements in MEMS and other technology would make for quite capable devices under that weight limit. Radio controlled planes flying up to 2000 feet are relatively standard and are currently easily outfitted with cameras.

A light radio controlled plane that can be damaged in a crash and within minutes be re-assembled and flying again A list of radio control plane makers and gear for radio controlled planes

There is an open source project to build the control software for autopiloting UAVs

Cloud cap technologies makes autopilot systems for converting RC planes into unmanned aerial vehicles

PiccoloPlus Autopilot $6000
Piccolo II Autopilot – fixed wing version $7500
Piccolo Ground Station $7500

Micropilot also makes
autopiloting gear
as does procer us UAV with pricing

Another source of UAV gear

US troops build their own UAVs and using remote control cars

Kite aerial photography

Aerial surveillance gear

A list of remote control plane sites

A fairly high performance ready to fly plane

40mph+ model car

Gumstix makes gumstick size 400MHz computers with 64 MB of memory that can be added to planes for various control purposes.

Solar powered flyers lasting over 48 hours have been made by hobbyists and some are incorporating small jet engines with speeds over 115 miles per hour.

A balloon that could act as a poor man’s satellite

Robotic helicopter