A quadrotor developed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is can start fires by dropping incendiary “dragon balls” the size of Ping-Pong balls. The aim is to makes it easier to carry out “prescribed burns”, fires which are started deliberately to clear underbrush and make major conflagrations less likely.

In recent tests it proved highly effective — and could make prescribed burns far less hazardous — but it’s easy to see how the technology could be misused. One drone can easily create massive fires over a very wide area, aiming for dry, fuel-rich targets…More in this piece I wrote for Popular Mechanics.

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