Why does the UAS industry need better weather data?
Drones by their very nature are very weather vulnerable. Seemingly benign wind, turbulence, icing, precipitation, fog, and clouds to larger aircraft can significantly impact the stability control and travel distance of drones due to their light weight and design, and reliance on batteries. The current aviation weather system was designed for where manned aircraft fly, in well weather instrumented cylinders of airspace around airports. Drones will operate nearly everywhere, and there are significant weather data reporting gaps away from airports, especially below 1,000 ft in the near-Earth zone. This zone has terrain that impacts wind speed and direction and daytime heating causes gusty winds, turbulence and large temperature contrasts between cities and rural areas that drains battery usage and shortens travel distance. Having very granular understanding of micro-climates in real time will enhance safe and profitable operations.
Isn’t the information that the operators get from their TV stations, weather apps, and the National Weather Service good enough?
The public weather services most users are familiar with from TV stations, applications, or National Weather Service are perfect for general weather knowledge. But just as the military and airlines cannot rely on public weather services for mission critical operations, neither can drone operators. Drones, especially when they begin flying beyond visual line of sight at five, ten or fifteen miles from the takeoff location, will require micro-weather data with more granularity and customization to reduce accident and liability risk. For example, a forecast of 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms on a specific day can cover an area of 15-20 counties. It doesn’t specifically tell when and where the rain will fall. The uncertainty of such a forecast either causes an operator to fly without a clear understanding of the risk, or causes a conservative approach, that may unnecessarily ground the drone, preventing it from producing important revenue and reducing profitability.
What benefit will better weather data provide to businesses and consumers? Are those benefits reflected in someone’s bottom line?
For business, better weather data will provide more confidence in decision making. “Can I fly right now and complete my mission?”, “Can I schedule operations tomorrow?” and “Do I have a system in place to be aware of and notified of weather threats while my drone is in flight?” TruFliteUAS™ answers these questions and allow our users to focus on the mission at hand, satisfy their customers, and maximize flight time, and more importantly profits. TruFliteUAS™ will increase flight time by 40 percent when weather uncertainty is a factor, resulting in more productivity and revenue generation.
For consumer and regulators, the primary concern is safety. Weather is a primary risk to drone safety. Drone operators cannot engineer weather out of the equation, but precise weather data and awareness, coupled with a disciplined risk management and decision system will reduce the threat. TruFliteUAS™ we will enable consumers and regulators to safely use this technology for the benefits of communities and mitigate the risk of weather threats so that pilots and companies can safely and reliably operate in communities.