Coming a long way since the DIY Arudino based ArduCopter announced a year ago, commercial quadricopters seems to be taking off. Gizmodo and Slashdot are reporting on the Aeryon Scout Quadrotor by Canadian Aeryon Labs Inc. The marketing is towards police organizations, and the forum headlines compare it to a Predator UAV, which of course sets the discussion off on a totally useless track.
The interesting features of the Aeryon Scout includes its easy assembly and disassembly, high quality camera payload, and robust remote control system. The videos on their site shows off this. Otherwise, there's few technical details, and the most crucial one for these kind of vehicles; how long can it stay up in the air, is not mentioned. They do talk about batteries though, using 11.1 V or 14.8 V lithium polymer cells. Price is not known either, however, since it's target towards governments, you can expect a 10x markup.
Which brings us to the consumer quadricopter Parrot AR.Drone. It's being sold as a kid's toy, and you can get one for about 300 USD. There's some pictures and videos on their site, but also a whole user community site. Their forum includes some more technical details about the product: The computer is based on ARM9 468 MHz, DDR 128 Mbyte at 200MHz, Wifi b/g, Linux OS. The guidance system uses a 3 axis accelerometer, 2 axis gyrometer, and a 1 axis yaw precision gyrometer. It has 4 brushless motors, (35,000 rpm, power: 15W), and uses a lithium polymer battery (3 cells, 11,1V, 1000 mAh). Finally, it weights between 380 and 420 g (based on which hull is attached), and they claim a 12 minutes flying time.