Disposable Drones Will Collect Data by Surfing Along with Hurricanes


Hurricanes are generally things that robots, humans, and everything else try to avoid. It’s hard to study something, though, if you’re constantly getting out of its way. There are some aircraft that are specifically designed for hurricane study, but they’re big and expensive, and since they’re stuffed full of humans, they can’t do anything particularly risky. Such dangerous tasks are best left to robots, like this chubby little guy from the University of Florida.

These robots, made of carbon fiber, are just six inches long and don’t weigh much more than an iPod Nano. Hardware on board measures pressure, temperature, humidity, location and time, all to help predict the trajectory and intensity of hurricanes. Since just one of these robots isn’t nearly enough to get a good sense of a hurricane, they’re designed to be used in swarms of tens or hundreds, collecting massive amounts of data while creating their own autonomous network. [See More]