Getting unmanned aircraft to fly in coordination with one another, while in the throes of hurricane force winds, is no easy feat. It calls for a lot of mathematical formulas, tricky steering algorithms and prototype testing. But, aerospace engineer Derek Paley and hurricane researcher Sharan Majumdar are up for the challenge. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), they are working on programming unmanned aircraft to fly cooperatively and collect an abundance of hurricane data from altitudes and in conditions that are considered unsafe for humans to fly. This they hope, will lead to more accurate predictions of hurricane intensity, something Paley says will help improve emergency response decisions and will have a potential for societal impact.
Provided by the National Science Foundation