By 2027, the drone logistics and transportation market is projected to grow to $29.06 billion. With such tech giants like Google, Amazon and Walmart already developing and testing their own drones, taking deliveries to the skies will be the largest opportunity in this market. GENIUS NY finalist, TruWeather Solutions, is one company looking to make a significant impact on the future of drone delivery.
Central New York and the Mohawk Valley rank number one in the U.S. as the leading regions driving development and innovation in testing to take the drone industry to new levels. Included in New York’s unmanned aerial systems (UAS) ecosystem is one of seven FAA-designated UAS test sites, managed by the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR Alliance).
TruWeather Solutions, a weather data and analytics company has partnered with the NUAIR Alliance since the Spring of 2018 to help ensure safe and efficient UAS operations. The two are a perfect fit because the future of drone delivery is dependent on predicting small changes in weather. The TruWeather team provides the FAA UAS test site an important piece that goes into a successful drone flight by forecasting real-time micro weather data.
"I have experienced it firsthand…you need to have aviation weather expert teammates who know operations, provide solutions before you think of asking for one, and understand the platforms and payloads; but most importantly, provide more than pretty pictures from a coarse weather data set from an App, but real micro-weather data and substance behind those pictures like TruWeather Solutions," said Marke "Hoot" Gibson, President & CEO of NUAIR Alliance.
In advance of a drone flight tests, TruWeather sends out information so flight operators can adjust schedules as needed to reduce “downtime” due to weather. On actual flying days, they provide a mission brief prior to departure explaining the anticipated impacts so the flight crew and operations crew have no surprises. During the actual mission, a forecaster provides a MISSIONWATCH service to the flight crew so any weather issues can be quickly relayed for immediate action. This action could be a flight deviation, perhaps a return to base (end flight early), or other protective actions (tarp a UAS to protect from rain, hanger or chain down an aircraft, etc). TruWeather’s goal is to ensure a safe flight but also to get maximum efficiency from the drone and minimize time loss due to weather.
TruWeather was heavily involved with NASA Task Order 5 flights this year. The project involved both commercial entities (UAV operators) as well as teams from NASA. During the testing window, TruWeather provided targeted weather data easily integrated into the planning process. Range Mangers were able to reschedule crucial flight testing (to support NASA test requirements) to mitigate morning fog and low ceilings to maximize flight time during an aggressive test schedule with a narrow flight envelope. Prior to the flight day, Flight crews were told to show up later than originally scheduled and plan on staying later in the evening in order to minimize down time and increase crew availability. As a result, all testing was successful and completed within strict time constraints.
It is safe to say that better weather data provides benefits to businesses and consumers. TruWeather founder, Don Berchoff explains, “for businesses, better weather data will lead to better decision making.” Drone pilots will be able to determine if they can complete a flight mission on time or if they should reschedule due to unfavorable weather conditions. TruWeather’s TruFliteUAS™ system provides notifications to pilots of potential weather threats in real-time while drones are in flight. All of these systems will help maximize flight times and profits. It’s been found that TruFliteUAS™ can increase the time drones are in the air by 40% when uncertain weather comes into play.
For more information on TruWeather you can visit their website and be sure to catch them at Booth #109 during this year’s Commercial UAV Expo, from October 1-3, in Las Vegas.