Drone capable of extracting data directly from typhoon eyes under development

The "Chui Feng MAKER" is expected to begin operations next year

Chui Feng Maker (Image by Southern Taiwan Science Park)

Chui Feng Maker (Image by Southern Taiwan Science Park)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is hit by typhoons frequently throughout the summer months. Their trajectory, strength and severity, however, is always difficult to predict.

Southern Taiwan Science Park’s AI_ROBOT, in cooperation with research group COOK Team and other collaborators in the field, hope to change this. They have created the “Chui Feng Maker” (追風MAKER), a drone designed to fly into the eye of a typhoon to assess its potential trajectory and severity.

The model is expected to be tested next year and it is hoped it can eventually be used to more accurately conduct typhoon predictions.

AI_ROBOT said that COOK Team was established by Professor Lin Bo-hsiung (林博雄) of National Taiwan University Atmospheric Sciences department. The team is attempting to use science and technology to explore the eyes of typhoons and procure meteorological data directly from the center.

To fly the drone into typhoons, expert knowledge is needed in many professional fields as atmosphere, navigation, engineering, and communications all need to be considered.

Because it needs to face violent winds and heavy rain, The Chui Feng Maker is extremely sturdy and waterproof. As a low-powered device, the drone uses LoRaWAN technology to maintain stability in long-distance transmissions.

It is equipped with humidity sensors, barometric sensors and water temperature sensors, among other data collection devices which can be returned to research teams for analysis.

Drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), have been used to observe typhoons for over 20 years. Many institutions and government bodies continue to invest in UAV research.

A Chui Feng Maker prototype has already been developed. It is expected the machine will be able to fly into typhoons by next year. Researchers hope research and analysis regarding typhoon trajectory and strength can be executed more accurately through use of the new device.