These Men Are About to Release Firebombing Drones into the Wild

Ironically, it's to help prevent fires.
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Ironically, it's to help prevent fires.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's NIMBUS lab just received FAA approval to begin outdoor testing on the fire-starting drones they've successfully tested indoors, with the goal of eventually aiding in conservation and fire prevention efforts.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's NIMBUS lab recently received clearance from the FAA to begin outdoor testing of their firebombing UAVs, designed to aid in conservation and wildfire prevention efforts.

Here's how they work: these robotic drones each carry a payload of plastic spheres containing chemicals. Then, they inject a liquid into each sphere mid-air before dropping it into a target area. The chemical concoction causes a reaction that results in a burst of fire on the ground.

Although in the wrong pyromaniac's hands (OK, ours) this would be a seriously bad thing, this actually has great positive implications for setting controlled burns in a safer, more economical way than the current methods (by hand or helicopter).

Still: firebombing drones. Check out this video to see 'em in action:

Photos by University of Nebraska-Lincoln