Oct. 14—Ever wondered what it's like to be inside a hurricane? The autonomous sailboat company Saildrone, on behalf of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, sent their unmanned 23-foot SD 1045 drone (powered by wind and solar) into the eye of Hurricane Sam, where it successfully navigated through 50-foot waves and 120 mph winds.
More importantly, for the first time, the drone filmed the Atlantic Ocean storm's action at sea in real time, Maritime-Executive.com reports. A still shot and a drone are shown, courtesy of Saildrone.
"Using data collected by Saildrones, we expect to improve forecast models that predict rapid intensification of hurricanes," Greg Foltz of NOAA explained. "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."