Saildrone has just made history by sending an ocean drone where no research vessel has ever ventured – right into the eye of a monster storm. And they got amazing video footage in the process!
On September 30, US-based small business Saildrone, the makers of autonomous surface vehicles by the same name, sent an ocean drone into the eye of Hurricane Sam.
Sam, which is a Category 4 hurricane, will, fortunately, miss the US East Coast. But collecting information that is critical to understanding what drives the rapid intensification of a tropical storm is important for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Since it only takes one storm to devastate a community, an improvement in storm forecasting could allow for better preparedness in coastal communities, reducing the loss of human life.
Saildrone’s ocean drones provide data directly to NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) and Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) – the company’s partners in this mission. Greg Foltz, a NOAA scientist, explains:
Rapid intensification, when hurricane winds strengthen in a matter of hours, is a serious threat to coastal communities. New data from Saildrones and other uncrewed systems that NOAA is using will help us better predict the forces that drive hurricanes and be able to warn communities earlier.
Ocean drone video shows crazy waves inside Hurricane Sam
This week, the Saildrone Explorer SD 1045 battled 50-foot waves and winds of over 120 mph to collect scientific data. And in the process, it provided a completely new view of one of Earth’s most destructive forces.
Saildrone’s uncrewed surface vehicles are equipped with a specially designed “hurricane wing” that enables the drone to operate in extreme wind conditions.
As Saildrone founder and CEO, Richard Jenkins, sums up:
Saildrone is going where no research vessel has ever ventured, sailing right into the eye of the hurricane, gathering data that will transform our understanding of these powerful storms. After conquering the Arctic and the Southern Ocean, hurricanes were the last frontier for Saildrone survivability. We are proud to have engineered a vehicle capable of operating in the most extreme weather conditions on earth.
FTC: DroneDJ is reader supported, we may earn income on affiliate links