One scientist says they could help produce billions of gallons of additional water each month. That is why Jeff Tilley's team at Nevada's Desert Research Institute is developing a first of its kind drone for cloud seeding. Tilley says drones can fly through clouds and stay in the air longer, producing even more precipitation for communities devastated by drought.
"You can think of it not only do I have more water to shower with, or water my plants with, or raise crops with, you're really helping the economy from having the breaks put on it because of the amount of water that's available," he said.
The Desert Research Institute is still working on a cost analysis of using drones, but estimates the price tag to operate them in the field might only be half as much standard planes; since the smaller drones require less fuel.