Around 70 percent of times, Tornado warnings are false alarms. The average warning reaches victims only 12 minutes prior to when an actual tornado hits. This gives an insight on how hard it is to predict tornados.

The group of mechanical engineering students, Warren Causey, Nolan Lunsford and Brent Bouthiller are working on a pioneering project that will fly drones right in the middle of tornadoes in an effort to gather data on one of the most mysterious and destructive natural disasters.

Warren Causey explains that not much has been known about how tornadoes form and that in fact is a huge issue. Hence, the team behind the Siren project is trying to find ways in which the drone can get inside the tornado, accumulate data, look for possible patterns that form and help them unlock why some thunderstorms form into a huge tornado and some don’t.

Drones Will Fly Directly into Tornadoes

The futuristic project originated a year ago from one of the largest tornado to hit somewhere close to El Reno, Oklahoma where Causey was chasing tornadoes. Three fellow researchers from Discovery Channel’s Stormchasers show were killed while attempting to place probers in the tornado to accumulate tremendously essential data. A stormchasers job, as you may have known by now, is clearly not a safer one. However, now that we have dawned the age of AI tools and drones, it can be turned into a much safer one, where drones replace humans when it comes to gathering useful information. The three stormchasers were leading a research by placing a probe in the way of a tornado, a task quite difficult to accomplish, in the light of the fact that it needs precision and guarantee that the probe is going to get hit. A test that rarely works, since it’s tricky to predict the outcomes. Causey, wanted to continue what was left off with the death of the three stormchasers a year ago, using technology (drones) that are more available to us today.

The specially designed and equipped UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) will fly at 100mph into one corner of the tornado and then get swallowed in. Causey explains that supercell thunderstorms from where tornadoes originate have an exceptional anatomy. The drones will be tapping into ‘inflow indent’, where it’s moderately calm and bounce on that air current channel and simply flow.

Unfortunately, the drones cannot survive the storm, however, a little package inside is sturdy enough to last through the tornado, and will gather and store information for meteorologists and engineers to research on. An accelerometer will likewise measure force, and will gather and store information which architects and civil engineers can use to design structures that can better withstand tornadoes.

The Kickstarter campaign is aimed at funding the final design of the drone and cover minor expenses as the team drives cross-country in hopes of pursuing storms. In the end, the undertaking is seen as a concept that will back an increase in research using UAVs, and more optimistically, foresee warning.

Causey hopes that through precise and accurate warnings, people will be able to prepare well when a tornado is likely to hit.