NOAA and Saildrone Inc. have teamed up to pilot five new saildrones in the Atlantic to gather data that will improve the understanding of hurricanes. Yesterday SD1045, one of the sail-powered data collection bots, got a look at Hurricane Sam, a category 4 hurricane currently off the US east coast. While weathering 50ft waves and winds of over 120 mph, the drone took some remarkable video of the storm.
“Using data collected by saildrones, we expect to improve forecast models that predict rapid intensification of hurricanes,” said NOAA scientist Greg Foltz. “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.”
“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,” said Richard Jenkins, Saildrone founder and CEO. “After conquering the Arctic and 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.”