Ocean Drone Captures Stunning Video Inside a Hurricane, for the First Time Ever

Five saildrones have been operating in the Atlantic Ocean, to gather data related to hurricanes 10 photos
Photo: Saildrone
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Uncrewed research vessels are helping us reach unprecedented frontiers. Thanks to their ability to withstand the harshest conditions, and gather precious data in the Arctic, and even inside a hurricane, these research drones can help save lives.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced a world premiere: footage from an uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) inside Hurricane Sam, in the Atlantic Ocean. The video captured by the Saildrone Explorer SD 1045 inside this category four hurricane will help scientists develop hurricane prediction models.

California-based Saildrone has developed revolutionary research drones that can perform ocean mapping operations, with the help of highly advanced sensors and a wind propulsion system that enables them to cover long distances. The SD 1045 is one of the five hurricane-hunting Saildrone USVs that have been operating in the Atlantic Ocean, during hurricane season. The special design allows them to withstand extreme wind conditions and gather real-time data.

No standard research vessel could be capable of venturing right into the eye of the hurricane. This was a test even for the Saildrone, which proved to be incredibly resilient and capable of collecting live data right inside Hurricane Sam. The ocean drone had to face 50-foot (15.2 meters) waves, and winds of over 120 mph (193 kph).

The data was then sent to NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.

According to NOAA, with the help of data gathered by the ocean drone in the middle of the hurricane, scientists can improve forecast models. This, in turn, will help coastal communities be better prepared.

Saildrones are not only incredibly resilient but also more cost-effective and better for the environment (they are mostly wind- and solar-powered), compared to conventional ocean research vessels. However, what’s most impressive about them is that they can give us a new, exciting view of phenomena that we could only study from a distance, until now.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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