Researchers are using unmanned drones to fly into Western and Midwestern storms, as they try to better learn how tornadoes form. Using drones is a realistic and more affordable way to reach storms that most scientific instruments simply can't reach.
The Unmanned Aircraft System and Severe Storms Research Group was created by the University of Colorado and University of Nebraska, with both universities creating a custom research consortium. Both universities will strengthen their relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to receive approval for flying drones in extreme weather.
"For most of the past decade, CU-Boulder's UAS research group has collaborated closely with Dr. [Adam] Houston and his UNL severe-storm research group," said Brian Argrow, CU-Boulder aerospace engineers. "Our creation of the new consortium establishes a forum to productively engage current and future collaborations with whom we will work to use UAS to better understand the origins and evolution of severe storms, and to potentially revolutionize severe-storm forecasting and warning systems."
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