Drones for cloud seeding: If Nevada can, so can Karnataka

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Last year, for the first time, a fixed-wing unmanned aircraft successfully managed to ‘seed’ a cloud during a test flight in Nevada, US. The Savant aircraft fired off two silver-iodide flares during its 18-minute flight from the Hawthorne Industrial Airport

On Sunday, Rathnakar Naik, founder of Karkala-based ‘Sky View’ – The world from above, presented a similar demonstration before Udupi district minister Pramod Madhwaraj at Ajjarkadu grounds in Udupi.

Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Naik said that with rains failing, the government is looking for cloud seeding and their firm could help them in the endeavor.
“Fine particles of silver iodide are lighter than air and they move up and penetrate the cloud. Due to the
chemical reaction that follows, there is a cloud burst. We made a presentation of this technology using
Octocopter S-1000. The technology has been tested in Nevada. Another quadcopter Phantom II was also used for demonstration,” he said, adding that the minister had assured a meeting with chief minister Siddaramiah to discuss the project. Naik, who has been working on drones and aeromodelling for the past 15 years, said that he has been thinking about the idea for a long time and has discussed it with retired ISRO scientist Janardhan Rao, who is also based in Karkala. The drone has a software-based application that controls the UAV from the ground and is capable of carrying a weight of 10 kg.
“Once the equipment was set, we conducted a flying test and the result was good. Rao suggested that we
make the presentation before local authorities,” Naik said.
Naik said the technology has been developed but requires the assistance of the meteorological department to be
implemented. “The department has to identify clouds,” he said. Minister Pramod Madhwaraj said that the
cloud seeding method was expensive but if it worked out using the drones, the government would extend
support to the project.

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