A new drone aimed at collecting critical scientific data from inside a hurricane recently battled Category 4 Hurricane Sam’s 50-ft waves and 120+ mph winds.
Saildrone Inc. and NOAA released Thursday the first video footage gathered by what they say was an uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) from inside a major hurricane making its trek in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Saildrone Explorer SD 1045 was sent into Hurricane Sam where it captures data and video inside one of the earth’s most destructive weather forces.
“Equipped with a specially designed “hurricane wing,” enabling it to operate in extreme wind conditions, SD 1045 is braving Hurricane Sam in the open ocean, collecting real-time observations for numerical hurricane prediction models, which are expected to yield new insights into how large and destructive tropical cyclones grow and intensify,” NOAA said.
SD 11045 is one of five hurricane Saildrones that have been operating in the Atlantic this hurricane season. They have been gathering data around the clock to help understand the physical processes of hurricanes.
“This knowledge is critical to improving storm forecasting and is expected to reduce loss of human life by allowing better preparedness in coastal communities,” said NOAA.
“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.”