In the comics, Red Tornado is an android imbued with a human intelligence and personality and created by the villain T.O. Morrow, whose sometime rival/sometime partner Anthony Ivo appeared on Arrow‘s second season.
There are a number of similarities between Red Tornado and The Vision, who was just introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Series producers Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti have also recently introduced The Atom into The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, mirroring Marvel’s Ant-Man. It had been widely speculated that Ray Palmer’s Arrow Season Three appearance as an armored, tech-driven hero was intended to steer clear of the similarities, but apparently someone has decided that there are too many similar superheroes out there to worry about ever using one.
Besides being a longtime member of the Justice League, Red Tornado served as a mentor to Young Justice when that team first assembled under the pen of longtime Supergirl writer Peter David.
It’s likely also worth noting that the Earth-2 version of Red Tornado, who has had a significant presence in The New 52: Futures End and Earth 2: Society, houses the personality of Lois Lane, Lucy’s sister and Sam’s daughter.