Every year, thousands of families are displaced because of violent tornadoes. Those living in what is known as “tornado alley” know this better than anyone in the world. These violent storms can reach 200 mile per hour winds in severe cases, destroying virtually everything in their path.
Meteorologists are the first line of defense against a tornado, but it’s near impossible to have 100% accuracy before a tornado is on the ground.
What is The Sirens Project?
The Sirens Project is in its infancy. While a type of drone, this is not a product the average consumer would want to buy. Instead, this is a drone that is meant for meteorologists to help them better study tornadoes.
Currently, going into the center of a tornado would be suicide. This leaves us with very little data to work from that can save lives.
Siren’s goal is to be able to enter into a tornado without the risk of life loss. Pretty ambitious and honorable – right?
Basically, a person will pilot Sirens so that they can gather surface data inside of tornadoes. Effectively, this is data that we can’t normally gather. Ultimately, this data will be analyzed to provide highly accurate warnings.
The team states that most tornado warnings have a 70 percent error rate. For people in the path of potential destruction, this is a horrifying statistic.
You can view the team’s video right on KickStarter. The goal is to reach $10,000 for better parts and to have the ability to chase tornadoes and use this drone for data.
- MRI technology
- FPV system
- Polycarbonate case
- Sensor package
- 1080p HD camera
Siren is not your typical drone. In fact, the base features are probably too technical for the average person to understand. In essence, this is a drone for scientists and engineers; however, the features are very important. Let’s take a look at some of the stuff we fully understand before attempting to explain the rest:
Going into a tornado is no joke. You need to have a very sturdy aircraft to be able to withstand these types of speeds.
Furthermore, you need to have some kind of backup for the data if the aircraft goes down. Thankfully, the team has thought about all of this.
This aircraft is built off of the deltawing design. Ultimately, this design is known for two things:
- Ease of speed maintaining.
- Great control in high wind.
The design is such that the user currently has to throw the drone into the air and it takes off from there. Flatter than any other drone I’ve ever seen, Sirens can cut through the high winds with great accuracy. Controlling this drone through high winds should not be an issue in most cases.
What happens when an EF-5 hits? Well, you run. But seriously, the drone will likely crash. No one has tested the drone on such a strong tornado, and doing so at the current moment is simply asking for significant injuries.
Built into this drone is what the team calls a “black box.” This box is a sensor package that would be seen on a commercial airliner. The box will survive the crash even if the body of the drone is ripped to shreds in the turbulent winds. Built into the box is a small 1080p HD camera that will document the tornado and provide visual data to the interceptor.
The collection of data is what’s most important. After all, this is not a drone you would want to merely fly around town and take pictures.
Unfortunately, I don’t fully understand the ins and outs of the data collection and analysis part, but I do get the gist of things.
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Siren will probe the tornado, collecting and storing data several times a second. The sensor package is responsible for this collection and will gather the following:
- Relative humidity
- Barometric pressure
All of this data will be used for the analysis process. Furthermore, all of this data will correlate with a GPS point for precise measuring. Elevation metrics will also be logged for a complete view of what’s happening inside of the twister.
What really makes this project special is that with all of this information, there will be a final 3-D representation rendered. This will provide the analyzer with a never-before-seen look into the heart of a tornado.
What the Community is Saying
The team of developers have not released this product by any means. Currently, the team is still within the design phase.
The initial design is complete, and you can see just how well it glides through the air. It does work, but the fundraiser is being used to bring the project to new heights.
The team needs funding for the following:
- Advanced parts to add durability.
- Parts to make more drones for further testing.
- Money to be able to travel and try the drone in a real tornado.
There’s still a lot of things that need to be done before this project gets into the hands of engineers and meteorologists for real-life detection.
Currently, the community has listed a few articles with the project being the premier piece. Everyone is excited to see how well Sirens will pan out, including the likes of: GeekGA, CoExist and AccuWeather.
The future is bright for this young team of 3, and the world is watching to see how Sirens will change how we detect tornadoes.