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

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

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