Reuters - Video

EDITION: U.S. | U.K. | IN

Technology

One year after Sandy, mini-drones seen as storm warning solution

Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 02:54

Oct. 17 - With the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy fast approaching, scientists say they are moving closer to developing more effective early warning systems for future storms. Engineers at the University of Florida are building small autonomous vehicles that fly into and under hurricanes to provide real time data about their intensity and track. Ben Gruber reports.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

Engineer Michael Kreig is braving the frigid waters of a test pool at the University of Florida. He's putting his latest mini submarine prototype through its paces. In another part of the lab his colleagues are gathering data about the aerodynamic properties of a micro-air vehicle in a wind tunnel. Both of these machines will one day work hand in hand to provide an unprecedented amount of real time data about hurricanes. According to Kamran Mohseni, the head of the lab and a professor of engineering, the intensity and trajectory of developing hurricanes are difficult to predict because satellite imagery and data from aircraft provide very limited information. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KAMRAN MOHSENI, PROFESSOR OF ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, SAYING: "The interface between the ocean and the atmosphere is critical in fuelling the hurricane. That is the part that we are rally missing in our estimates. How do you get that boundary condition to feed to your simulator." Mohseni and his team believe the answer will be found in machines like these. Small autonomous aircraft designed to fly into the heart of growing storms and transmit real time data about atmospheric conditions. He envisions a day when when hundreds of his tiny planes will swirl around inside storm systems gathering and transmitting information, using the kinetic energy of the hurricane's winds to stay aloft. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KAMRAN MOHSENI, PROFESSOR OF ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, SAYING: "If you use many of these little, cheap vehicles with sensing capability you can get significantly higher processing capability, communication capability, coverage, at an aggregate level." But Mohseni says aircraft can paint only half a picture. To be able to predict a hurricane's path and intensity, you have to know what going on beneath the water as well, which is where Michael Kreig's submarines come in. The vessels are tubular with a rear propeller, making ideal for travelling the long distances needed to reach a hurricane in open waters and they are also extremely manoeuvrable, thanks to internal thrusters designed to mimic squid. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKE KRIEG, ENGINEER, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, SAYING: "They suck in water through this hole and they shoot out a high momentum jet through that same hole. And it's very similar to the way a squid swims through the water. The squid sucks in water into its mantle cavity and it shoots out a high momentum jet and it gets a lot of propulsive force out of that." ..enough propulsive force to keep the tiny subs stable while tracking a hurricane underwater. Mohseni says that by combining the data provided by these small machines, weather models of the future will be significantly more accurate when predicting the track and intensity of hurricanes as well as give more accurate detail about storm surge risks. He says there is still a lot of research and development needed before his drones are ready to tackle hurricanes, but he says they will eventually help save lives.

Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code

One year after Sandy, mini-drones seen as storm warning solution

Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 02:54

Top News »

Investing 201 »

Arian Foster = BlackBerry? Arian Foster = BlackBerry?

Fri, Oct 25, 2013 - (3:16)

Don’t miss these red flags for IPOs Don’t miss these red flags for IPOs

Thu, Oct 10, 2013 - (2:34)

Copycat currency trading Copycat currency trading

Wed, Oct 02, 2013 - (2:28)

When to dump a winner When to dump a winner

Tue, Sep 24, 2013 - (1:55)

Where gold might again attract Jim Rogers Where gold might again attract Jim Rogers

Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - (2:05)

Why savings interest rates won't budge Why savings interest rates won't budge

Fri, Sep 13, 2013 - (2:09)

Buy local? ETFs try the trend Buy local? ETFs try the trend

Thu, Sep 05, 2013 - (2:42)

The better bond funds The better bond funds

Wed, Aug 07, 2013 - (2:40)

Best bargain in 40 years? European stocks Best bargain in 40 years? European stocks

Thu, Aug 01, 2013 - (2:24)

Invest like an activist Invest like an activist

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 - (2:49)

Money Clip »

3 things to do before disaster strikes 3 things to do before disaster strikes

Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - (1:39)

Your must-do money list Your must-do money list

Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - (1:24)

The worst "best" financial advice The worst "best" financial advice

Wed, Sep 04, 2013 - (1:42)

Forget gold: The case for REITs Forget gold: The case for REITs

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 - (1:19)

3 rules for buying a house now 3 rules for buying a house now

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - (1:39)

“Stalking” your dream home - Money Clip “Stalking” your dream home - Money Clip

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - (2:50)

3 hidden tax deductions - Money Clip 3 hidden tax deductions - Money Clip

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 - (1:33)

Moving Pictures »

Still missing – MH370 Still missing – MH370

Fri, Sep 05, 2014 - (2:05)

Images of August Images of August

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 - (1:00)

Burning Together Burning Together

Mon, Sep 01, 2014 - (2:23)

Mending dolls, teddies and hearts Mending dolls, teddies and hearts

Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - (3:12)

"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay "Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay

Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - (2:27)

Burned memories Burned memories

Fri, Aug 08, 2014 - (3:02)

Images of July Images of July

Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - (1:20)

World Cup: passion on the pitch World Cup: passion on the pitch

Fri, Jul 11, 2014 - (1:00)

A refugee in America gives back A refugee in America gives back

Wed, Jul 02, 2014 - (3:25)

A long search for refuge A long search for refuge

Fri, Jun 20, 2014 - (3:04)

Reuters Investigates »

Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead" Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead"

Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - (8:24)

Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest

Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - (4:01)

"Passed around like a dog" "Passed around like a dog"

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (6:32)

Adopted, then abandoned online Adopted, then abandoned online

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (13:21)

How the DEA keeps its secrets secret How the DEA keeps its secrets secret

Mon, Aug 05, 2013 - (1:36)

How education lost its role as the great equalizer - Reuters Investigates How education lost its role as the great...

Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - (7:52)

Jihad Jane: From abused child to American jihadist - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: From abused child to American...

Sat, Dec 08, 2012 - (10:01)

Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters...

Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - (10:39)