Drones have many uses that is a fact we can all agree on. Now, thanks to a team of scientists in Nevada, drones are now capable of carrying cloud seeding payloads.
According to Wikipedia, cloud seeding is “a form of weather modification, is the attempt to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds, by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter the microphysical processes within the cloud. The usual intent is to increase precipitation (rain or snow), but hail and fog suppression are also widely practiced in airports.”
These latest flight tests represent the first drone based cloud seeding platform.
A team of Nevada scientists and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) engineers have successfully flight tested the first-ever autonomous cloud seeding aircraft platform.
Cloud seeding flare tests were deployed from Drone America’s DAx8 UAS aircraft flown in Reno in late January.
As the first phase in a new industry-academic research partnership between the Desert Research Institute (DRI), Drone America, and AviSight, the test flight of a DAx8 multi-rotor aircraft with attached cloud seeding cargo validates the potential for UAS to significantly enhance airborne seeding operations, explained Adam Watts, Ph.D, the project’s lead and an assistant research professor at DRI.
“This is a major milestone,” said Watts. “Utilizing our state’s FAA test site designation, we were able to fly this advanced aircraft right here in Northern Nevada and verify that UAS are fully capable of carrying active cloud seeding payloads.”
Drone based cloud seeding is still a work in progress, but this a major step in the right direction.
“We are extremely excited to have completed yet another step in reaching our goal of autonomous cloud seeding application,” said Mike Richards, President and CEO of Drone America.“Our joint research program with DRI is well on its way to revolutionizing the cloud seeding industry by providing safe airborne seeding with significant potential of providing relief to people in drought-stricken areas.”
Welcome to the Desert Research Institute (DRI), the environmental research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education. DRI conducts cutting-edge applied research in air, land and life, and water quality across Nevada, the United States and on every continent. With more than 500 employees and two main campuses in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, DRI generates $50 million in total annual revenue.
DRI’s faculty members are nontenured, entrepreneurial and responsible for their own salaries from external grants and contracts. This blend of academic rigor and private-sector pragmatism has earned DRI a reputation for delivering rapid, high quality environmental science in a businesslike fashion.
About Drone America
Drone America is one of a limited number companies seeking approval from the FAA for their Experimental Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) manufacturing process enhancing our image with the FAA by indicating that our build quality rivals that of the major manufacturers. Our engineering team continuously evaluates existing products, adjust and adapt based upon market trends and mission specific customer driven applications