Jeff Blank, of Los Angeles-based Drone Dudes, prepares a quadcopter for takeoff. The drone has to chase a motorcycle down a hill. Aarti Shahani/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Aarti Shahani/NPR

Merrill uses a drone to take aerial shots of Santa Cruz, Calif. Courtesy of David Merrill hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of David Merrill

North Dakota farmer Jim Reimers shows off one of the drones he uses to collect data on his family's 30,000-acre farm. Steve Henn/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Steve Henn/NPR

Drone Journalism Lab researcher Ben Kreimer is limited to testing drones indoors. Courtesy of Drone Journalism Lab hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Drone Journalism Lab

A water-collecting drone hovers at a testing site in Lincoln, Neb., in 2013. The Federal Aviation Administration is working on rules for the commercial use of unmanned aircraft. Nati Harnik/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Nati Harnik/AP

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

itoggle caption Jamey Jacob/Oklahoma State University

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

itoggle caption Steve Henn/NPR

Joe Kummer, president of Propulsive Wing in Elbridge, N.Y., is rooting for having a drone test site in upstate New York. He says it could save him trips to the West Coast to try out new drone prototypes. Ryan Delaney/WRVO hide caption

itoggle caption Ryan Delaney/WRVO

Brian Bills, a flight operations analyst for Lockheed Martin, demonstrates the Procerus VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) Flight System — a surveillance drone for commercial, civil and military customers — at the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference in Las Vegas. (Watch a demo video.) Kainaz Amaria/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Kainaz Amaria/NPR