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Disposable 'Coyote' drones to study hurricanes such as Laura

Disposable ‘Coyote’ drones to study hurricanes such as Laura

Scientists in East Tennessee have developed disposable ‘Coyote’ drones to study hurricanes such asLaura. These unmanned aerial systems (UAS) can fly into the most dangerous part of the hurricane’s eye-wall.

Disposable ‘Coyote’ drones to study hurricanes such as Laura

Scientists from East Tennessee have developed a disposable drone called the ‘Coyote’, to study the most dangerous part of a hurricane the eye-wall. These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) could be used to study hurricanes such as Laura.

“It is kind of exciting because there’s an area in a hurricane that if you go there, you don’t live to tell about it. It’s underneath the eyewall, low altitude over the ocean. These aircraft are designed to go there,” said Ron Dobosy, a retiree of Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) and an atmospheric scientist, according to 10News.

Dobosy and drone pilot Ed Dumas worked together as part of a team that improved and calibrated instruments for an unmanned aircraft called the ‘Coyote.’

These ‘Coyote’ drones have been dropped out of airplanes during Hurricane Maria (2017), and Micheal (2018) and collected never-before-seen data from inside deep the storm. The drones were able to measure wind speed, direction, air pressure, and sea temperature.

“It can control itself in very severe turbulence as we found out. At least, to a point. Of course, we lost every one of them, mostly because they plunged into the sea. We were basically running destructive tests,” Dobosy said.

The unmanned aircraft have been designed to be disposable and represent the latest drone technology to help predict hurricanes better and more accurately to save lives.

“A very good data set, like the ones we’re talking about, we can spend years looking at this data after the fact and continue to make improvements in the forecasting and predictions for current models and current hurricanes,” Dumas said.

Dobosy said that while meteorologists can forecast where a hurricane is going, predicting its intensity is a different story. the ‘Coyote’ drones could help with this as they are designed to collect data from that most dangerous part of the eye-wall of the hurricane.

Disposable'Coyote' drones to study hurricanes such as Laura

Currently, Dobosy said the drones are being worked on and further improved. He hopes to have them back in the skies in time for next year’s hurricane season.

 

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Photo credits: Ed Dumas, Orau, WBIR and 10News

Haye Kesteloo

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