Top 11 Aerial Surveillance Devices

Top 11 Aerial Surveillance Devices

From unmanned remote-control helicopters to manned mini aircraft, the personal spy game has gone aerial. If you want to keep tabs on an untrustworthy business partner, a shady neighbor, a sticky-fingered roommate or a frisky significant other, there is a flying product out there designed specifically for the task. Here is a rundown of the coolest and most covert devices on the market, including some you can even control with your smartphone.

Top 11 Aerial Surveillance Devices

PARROT AR.DRONE
This micro-sized unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is piloted via Wi-Fi connection to any iPhone, iPod, iTouch or iPad, with a range of up to 300 feet. You can steer by tilting the device, and adjust altitude by using touch buttons. The quadricopter uses two cameras to stream video directly to your gadget and ensure smooth landings after a single charge’s 15 minutes maximum flight time.

Cost:
$299.99
Link:
ParrotShopping.com

Top 11 Aerial Surveillance Devices

SNELFLIGHT QUADPOD
Its size, super-quiet rotors and motors, and stellar maneuvering make this device perfect for indoor use. With 2,000 feet per minute climbing speed, ability to carry a camera, and relatively low price, the QuadPod is a quadcopter hobbyist’s dream --customizable for almost any mission. The battery provides 10 minutes of flight time and a payload capacity of 0.33 pounds.

Cost:
$360
Link:
Snelflight.co.uk

Top 11 Aerial Surveillance Devices

AERIAL PRODUCTS’ LIGHTER THAN AIR SURVEILLANCE (LTAS) SYSTEMS
If your surveillance needs last more than 10 minutes, a balloon or helium-powered UAV is your best option. While not very subtle, LTAS systems have almost unlimited flight time, can carry up to 200 pounds (plenty for a point-and-click SLR camera or full-size high-def video camera) and can reach up to 2,500 feet in the air.

Cost:
$4,600
Link:
AerialProducts.com

Top 11 Aerial Surveillance Devices

DRAGANFLY TANGO TANDEM WING PLANE
This airplane-shaped UAV uses tandem front and rear wings to increase in-air stability at low speeds -- ideal for shooting aerial photography and real time video, both able to be streamed to a computer or the unit’s base station. The Tango can be operated via remote or set to operate autonomously.

Cost:
$10,000 (radio-controlled) or $24,000 (autonomous)
Link:
DraganFly.com

Top 11 Aerial Surveillance Devices

SENSEFLY SWINGLET CAM
Want your own spy plane? The Swinglet’s the next best thing: a flying wing with stabilizers and a rear propeller that takes off, flies and lands all on its own. Plus, it streams airspeed, ground speed, aircraft position and battery strength with flight control software and GPS to preprogram and initiate a sequence of photography for its 12-megapixel belly-mounted camera.

Cost:
 $11,900
Link:
 Sensefly.com 

Top 11 Aerial Surveillance Devices

MICRO AERIAL PROJECTS MICRODRONE MD4-200
While a bit pricey for amateurs, this is still one of the best-equipped personal microdrones. Capable of preprogrammed or controlled flights of up to 20 minutes, it can be equipped with a 12-megapixel still or high-def video camera to capture aerial footage. Other options: a thermal imaging camera, air and gas monitors, radiation detectors, cell phone jammers and more.
Cost:
$15,000
Link:
MicroAerialProjects.com

Top 11 Aerial Surveillance Devices

MOSQUITO XE ULTRALIGHT HELICOPTER
Forget the unmanned drones. Buzz your target Top Gun-style in a single-seat 20-feet long, 298-pound aircraft for licensed sport pilots. Topping out at 75 mph, it carries up to 240 pounds, and can fly up to 8,000 feet. Options include floats and a 5-gallon tank for aquatic takeoffs and landings.

Cost:
$32,000 (kit) or $40,500 (built)
Link:
RotorFX.com

Top 11 Aerial Surveillance Devices

DRAGANFLYER X8
Designed for professional photographers and amateur spies, this little helicopter’s equipped with eight brushless rotor blades, powered by eight low-noise electric motors, and an onboard processor running custom navigation software. When properly outfitted, the X8 can capture a wide variety of data, such as thermal images, SLR-quality photography and high-definition video.

Cost:
$32,165
Link:
DraganFly.com

Top 11 Aerial Surveillance Devices

FLYNANO
Made entirely of carbon fiber composite, this has to be the coolest-looking, most compact manned float plane ever made. Weighing less than 155 pounds with a wingspan of 16.4 feet and top speed of 87 mph, it’s propelled by a 24- or 35-horsepower gas-powered engine -- or a whisper-quiet 20kW electric motor for stealth missions over your neighbor’s yacht.

Cost:
$36,000 to $38,800
Link:
FlyNano.com

Top 11 Aerial Surveillance Devices

AERYON SCOUT
All right, this one is a bit over-the-top, but it’s still one of the most badass UAVs on the market. Point to a location on a Google map on the touch-screen controller to send the robot there at 30 mph to record high-quality video and beam stills to the controller or an iPhone in real time. The Scout can fly to an altitude of 500 feet, and the built-in camera can zoom in to a close-up from almost 985 feet away.
Cost:
$50,000
Link:
Aeryon.com

Top 11 Aerial Surveillance Devices

AEROQUAD QUADCOPTER
If you think building your own UAV is more fun than buying one ready-made, the AeroQuad is for you. This do-it-yourself special lets you mix and match components -- from accelerometers and gyroscopes to custom body kits and navigation systems -- to create your ultimate flying machine. Only thing holding you back is the limit of your imagination … and available credit.

Cost:
TBD
Link:
AeroQuad.com

Ian Rowan is a freelance writer who’s worked and written for Men’s Journal, The Village Voice, Switched.com and Vice Magazine. When he’s not traveling or writing his premature personal memoir, he specializes in technology trends, social media, web 2.0 and gadgets.

Tags: Apps , Gadgets , Technology