Or maybe a backyard near you.
The LA Times notes the FAA is working on licensing issues for unmanned platforms in the US.
Drone maker AeroVironment Inc. of Monrovia, the nation's biggest supplier of small drones to the military, has developed its first small helicopter drone that's designed specifically for law enforcement. If FAA restrictions are eased, the company plans to shop it among the estimated 18,000 state and local police departments across the United States.
In the foothills north of Simi Valley, amid acres of scrubland, AeroVironment engineers have been secretly testing a miniature remote-controlled helicopter named Qube. Buzzing like an angry hornet, the tiny drone with four whirling rotors swoops back and forth about 200 feet above the ground scouring the landscape and capturing crystal-clear video of what lies below.
The new drone weighs 51/2 pounds, fits in the trunk of a car and is controlled remotely by a tablet computer. AeroVironment unveiled Qube last month at the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago.
"This is a tool that many law enforcement agencies never imagined they could have," said Steven Gitlin, a company executive.
At the low end we already have hobbyist class machines - mostly remotely piloted, but some are autonomous. Where is the dividing line between a "toy" and something that needs to be licensed? Who will get the licenses and what does privacy mean?
The AeroVironment machine is about $40,000 compared to a few million for a helicopter. There is potentially a huge market. Serious hobbyist machines are usually south of a few thousand dollars and toy class machines with cameras are a few hundred.