Researchers from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has succeeded send a drone where no drone has ever flown. The drone has already sent back footage of what it’s like to be in a hurricane.
According to AccuWeatherSam is a Category 4 hurricane and is 380 miles (612 km) from Bermuda at the time of writing. With a wind speed of 241 km / h, this is the strongest storm on the planet at the moment. With a mandate to protect America’s coastal and marine resources, NOAA must provide changing environment and so they teamed up with Saildrone to study the hurricanes.
Alameda, California-based Saildrone, offers autonomous non-developing vessels (USVs) that can assist in a wide range of operations, ranging from mapping to weather forecasting, carbon cycling, global fishing and climate change. Wind-powered, these USVs are equipped with solar meteorological and oceanographic sensors for data collection missions.
To improve understanding of hurricanes, NOAA has deployed five USVs in the Atlantic Ocean, which gather around the clock. SD 1045 is one such USV, which is also equipped with a specially designed “hurricane” wing, which helps it work in extreme wind conditions. As Hurricane Sam turned off the east coast of the United States, researchers aimed the drone in the middle. Fighting 15 feet of high waves, the drone captured footage from inside the hurricane and sent it back to the NOAA team.
Richard Jenkins, founder and CEO of the drone company, said: “Saildrone is going where no research ship has ever dared, floating right in the eye of the hurricane, collecting data that will change our understanding of these powerful storms ”.
“The new data from sidrons and other unscrewed systems that NOAA uses will help us better anticipate the forces driving hurricanes and be able to warn communities sooner,” said Greg Folz, a NOAA scientist. “Using data collected by saildrones, we expect to improve forecast models that predict rapid hurricane intensification.”