In this paper an embedded vision system and control module is introduced that is capable of controlling an unmanned four-rotor helicopter and processing live video for various law enforcement, security, military, and civilian applications. The vision system is implemented on a newly designed compact FPGA board (Helios). The Helios board contains a Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGA chip and memory making it capable of implementing real time vision algorithms. A Smooth Automated Intelligent Leveling daughter board (SAIL), attached to the Helios board, collects attitude and heading information to be processed in order to control the unmanned helicopter. The SAIL board uses an electrolytic tilt sensor, compass, voltage level converters, and analog to digital converters to perform its operations. While level flight can be maintained, problems stemming from the characteristics of the tilt sensor limits maneuverability of the helicopter. The embedded vision system has proven to give very good results in its performance of a number of real-time robotic vision algorithms.