GreenSight’s WeaterHive is a unique new sensing technology that uses swarms of nano-sized drones to directly measure atmospheric conditions. This system can transverse up to 50 square miles per flight, generating a dense 3d cube of measurements. This technology was developed through an NSF-funded SBIR, and has now been selected by the US Air Force and the Defense Innovation Unit for a prototype development contract and potential procurement. This selection was made under the “Peacetime Indications and Warning: Global Weather Sensing” Commercial Solutions Opening.
WeatherHive’s sensing capabilities are highly unique, as there are no known technologies to directly sample the atmosphere over large areas at a reasonable cost. Weather balloons are used extensively to gather critical data used for weather forecasting, but are limited in that they can only capture data along a rising path, are fairly expensive per flight, and can only be used once leading to waste and pollution. Full-size manned aircraft can and are used, but are highly cost-prohibitive for gathering large amounts of data. Palm-sized WeatherHive nano unmanned aircraft weigh under 150 grams and are extremely inexpensive and safe. They can fly up to 10 miles in a single flight, automatically launching and landing into their “hive” for recharging and reuse. Dozens or hundreds can be used at once to gather large quantities of data regularly and inexpensively. Remotely deployable and disposable, WeatherHive is able to gather data in remote or contested areas, filling in gaps the USAF needs to properly forecast weather conditions and inform military decision-makers.
WeatherHive data shows promise to enable new breakthroughs in weather forecasting and climate science. Armed with data from WeatherHive, weather forecasting models may be able to much more accurately predict tornado formation, severe storm behavior, wildfire movement and hurricane paths. It is a promising new tool against increasingly common severe weather conditions that cause property damage, injuries and deaths every year.
GreenSight is developing WeatherHive using a selection of technology building blocks from the company’s robotics services platform, a suite of custom robotics hardware and software systems that facilitate developing innovative and impactful robotics technologies operating out in the real world where conditions and connectivity are not assured. GreenSight has worked with over 100 government agencies and private companies to bring their robotics and AI visions to reality.