A federal drone that's used to patrol the U.S.-Canadian border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection/AP hide caption

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Drones can provide information about temperature, humidity and pressure that current radar systems can't provide. Above, the Talos drone, which has a 15.5-foot wingspan. Jamey Jacob/Oklahoma State University hide caption

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All Tech Considered

Tornado Tech: How Drones Can Help With Twister Science


To understand how and why tornadoes form, some researchers are taking to the skies with small unmanned aircraft.

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Pablo Lema shows off his quadcopter. Steve Henn/NPR hide caption

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President Obama speaks about his administration's drone and counterterrorism policies at the National Defense University on Thursday. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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An American flag flying over Camp VI, where detainees are housed at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. Bob Strong /Reuters /Landov hide caption

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Paul Applewhite of Applewhite Aero isn't allowed to fly this 3-pound Styrofoam plane. That's because he has added circuitry to make it autonomous — it can find its way to specified coordinates — which means it's an unmanned aerial vehicle requiring a special testing permit. Martin Kaste/NPR hide caption

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An unmanned drone patrols the U.S.-Canadian border. Attorney General Eric Holder, in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said the president could in an "extraordinary circumstance" order a drone strike inside the country. U.S. Customs and Border Protection /AP hide caption

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