Autonomous aerial drones for less than $500

Chris Anderson's longstanding obsession with DIY automated miniature airplanes (UAVs) has paid off with an Arduino-based autopilot that can turn your RC airplane into an autonomous drone. Fourth-generation warfare was never this much fun — or this democratic.

Now this project has gone pro. Our first commercial autopilot, the Arduino-compatible ArduPilot, has been released and our goal of taking an order or two of magnitude out of the cost of an autopilot has been achieved: it's $24.95!

Combined with a RC plane, this makes it easy to build a complete UAV for less than $500, which is really kind of amazing. As exciting as that it is, it's also sobering to know that a technology that was just a few years ago the sole domain of the military is now within the reach of amateurs, so we spend a lot of time educating our community on FAA regulations and safe and responsible flying (always under 400 feet, stay within line of site, pilot always able to regain control).

From GeekDad Project to a Real Business

(via Futurismic)