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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published July 05 2012

Weather Talk: Drone technology used to safely study hurricanes

Drone technology is now being used to study hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is using two new remote-controlled boats this summer called Emily and Wave Glider.

Emily is a small, unmanned, instrument-laden boat that can be positioned in the path of a hurricane in the Atlantic or the Gulf in order to take readings of the weather and the waves for about 10 days until it runs out of gas. Emily is also outfitted with a high-definition camera.

Wave Glider is also an instrumented droid watercraft, and it has a video camera on board, but it gets its propulsion from the up and down motion of ocean waves, converting that energy into thrust, thereby allowing it to remain at sea for months at a time with no gas needed.

The basic idea of both boats is to safely obtain information about hurricanes without endangering any human lives.


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