Drones are amazing inventions. They help with photography, videography, used to deliver human organs for transplant, used for fishing, and even used for racing, so the idea of drones being used to help make it rain doesn’t really seem like that much of a stretch, does it? Because a group of researchers in Nevada have recently completed the first flight of an unmanned cloud-seeding drone.
Dubbed the “Sandoval Silver State Seeder”, a report by the Desert’s Research Institute (via Engadget), the test flight took place last week at an FAA-approved drone test site in Hawthorne, Nevada. The concept of cloud-seeding isn’t particularly new and has been used multiple times over many years for all kinds of situations, such as helping to clear the haze and stocking up the reservoir.
However this would make it the first time that an unmanned aircraft like the drone has been used in such operations. Note that the drone could only reach an altitude of 400 feet which means it didn’t exactly get high enough, but it successfully deployed two silver-iodide flares which are used to help induce rainfall from clouds, meaning that if they could get the drone higher, theoretically this idea could work.
According to Mike Richards, President and CEO of Drone America, “We have reached another major milestone in our effort to reduce both the risks and the costs in the cloud seeding industry and help mitigate natural disasters caused by drought, hail and extreme fog.”