Noticed in Maplin's current advertising flyer - three radio-controlled aircraft with built-in cameras, two helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft.
The cheapo helicopter is £49.99 and basically a toy - 40M control range and the camera is only 0.3MP recording to an SD card. The other helicopter (£149.99) has 100M control range and a 5MP camera, and transmits video to its operator. And the plane (£199.99) appears to have remote control and autopilot capability, transmits video up to 400M, and again has a 5MP camera.
I'm willing to bet that the paperazzi are already finding uses for this kit. Fly the copter up the outside of a hotel where your favourite Hollywood star is staying, send the plane over that really private nudist beach used by the royals, etc. etc.
What's the next stage? Weaponisation? Probably not easy, these things don't have much payload capability, but certainly a possibility. Wouldn't surprise me to see them with toy weapons, e.g. laser tag guns and receivers. And of course you could use something like that to paint a target for something more lethal...
I think the only writer who foresaw this really early was Charlie Stross, some of the possibilities are discussed in Accelerando (I think). Be very interesting to see where the technology goes.
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