A group of academics is attempting to use flying "quadcopter" robots as a means of deploying self-assembling ad-hoc wireless networks.
The system uses cheap "quadcopters" – autonomous flying helicopter-style robots equipped with satellite navigation – bearing radio equipment based on VIA Pico-ITX computers.
there are still some issues with it though – the batteries cost approx. 1000 Euro and the flight time is only 20 min.
Mind you that 20 minutes is for flight time, giving the robots enough duration to position themselves and land on "high ground or a building somewhere", and provide network coverage for several hours.
The project is looking for research students to continue the work.