Or if you're more adventurous, you can chop 4 30 dollar helicopters from amazon, add in an arduino and IMU with xbees, and come up with your homebrew solution, like my friend who I've been helping:
(These are pre-arduino, pre-IMU. Now it's hung from the ceiling and is controlled through the computer with an xbox controller. It's on a PID control right now, but eventually it'll be swapped out with a kalman filter based system.)
Also, Parrot's drone is fun to play with. The idea with sensefly is that you don't control it in realtime: you give it an itinerary before launching it, it follows it and comes back on its own. That's not as good for a toy, but more efficient for a professional tool.
As this happens there will be some who will take it as a challenge to destroy, capture, and most of all, to take over these drone. That does not entail injuring or harming an officer or a human so those who would never try to mess with a real helicopter or police cruiser might not have a problem messing with flying remote robots.
I wonder if there are any projects that are starting the process from the other side : take a mosquito and bio-engineer it somehow to use as a micro surveillance platform. I wouldn't be surprised if DoD already has such projects underway.
As the size gets smaller, FAA radars won't be able to detect these anymore. They might have to scan the control frequencies perhaps and triangulate to the base station.
As for radar signature, the smaller drones are already barely bigger than a large bird, so I guess they aren't spotted by radars, or at least not recognized as UAVs.
It's like ham radio in the sense that you have very limited and specific rights to use a shared medium so long as you don't interfere with the professional users.
You can do drones in the US, but you have to have line of sight to it at all times, and you have to be able to take control of it at any time.
Basically they hand build RC aircraft to carry a payload of onboard electronics, and also ground stations with aircraft tracking antenna from which they pilot and record their flights.
The legality of this varies from country to country, however as hackers of their discipline, some of these guys are particularly impressive:
I was trying to work out why there was something that looked like an LCD screen on the upper-side of the wing and then I realized that is just a regular point-and-shoot camera.
An EyeFi card (perhaps with an antenna built into the wing) would make a relatively easy upgrade from their current setup which looks like you have to wait to retrieve the plane before you can view the images.
As the website states local laws may not allow you to run a UAV domestically - anyone know what the laws would be here in US?
Whatever happens, sanity will be the first thing to leave the building.
This is awesome. it has a gps in it it will return and hover where it first powered up at your command. there is a video of it carrying a 2 litre bottle on a string. cost is about $1500 i think.
Now I hope someone invents an emi pulse to take this thing out when the neighbor gets nosy.
You keep what you catch?
It may not be this exact device, but I predict such a service within 3 years.
MAV's are pretty sweet as well: http://www.draganfly.com/