LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Yohanna Hanna is a doctoral student who is part of the USC research team that is not only trying to make drones perform better, but also trying to make them the size of a bird.

Engineering students at USC are using a wind tunnel to shape the future of drones as we know them.

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“We’re just trying to make drones perform better,” Hanna told CBS2’s Amber Lee.

“At that size, the aerodynamics are far more complicated,” Geoff Spedding said.

“Nobody knows how to make a wing at that small scale,” he added.

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By using a wind tunnel, the graduate students can understand how drones respond to airflow.

Smoke and lasers are sometimes used to help students monitor the air moving around the wing.

The data is then crunched and each experiment helps them get closer to their goal of improving drone performance and decreasing drone size.

The closer they get to understanding how to design these next generation drones, the faster we will see it being used both for the military and commercially.

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“I think it’s going to be integrated into society in ways that we have not begun to appreciate yet,” Spedding added.