Earth Networks Rolls out Low-Altitude Weather Forecasting for Drones


Earth Networks, a provider of weather intelligence solutions, has announced Sferic DroneFlight – a predictive weather offering specifically designed for commercial drones.

According to the company, Sferic DroneFlight delivers hyperlocal wind forecasts for any latitude and longitude in the world. The forecast is available at 10-meter altitude increments and hourly intervals for out to six days – in turn, enhancing commercial drone flight safety and efficiency across all three phases of drone operations: pre-flight planning, in-flight operations and post-flight analysis.

Earth Networks explains that wind speed and direction data are particularly critical in the 10- to 400-foot low-altitude range where commercial drones operate – a range too high for traditional surface-level wind data to be used exclusively and too low for wind data used by airlines operating at much higher altitudes.

The new solution builds on Earth Networks’ long-standing partnership with Global Weather Corp. It also complements Earth Networks’ Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts, powered by the company’s hyperlocal early-warning networks of 10,000 weather sensors and 1,500 lightning sensors covering 90 countries. Drone operators around the world can use both solutions together to identify potential disruptive weather conditions such as high winds, hail and precipitation, the company explains.

“Until now, drone operators have had to plan missions by relying on surface-level weather information or high-altitude measurements provided to commercial airlines, neither of which provides the needed intelligence to optimize missions,” says Anuj Agrawal, chief marketing officer at Earth Networks. “Our new low-altitude Sferic DroneFlight offers the ideal vertical resolution needed for operators to assess relevant weather conditions. As the drone market and regulatory environment continue to evolve, weather intelligence will be a key technology to enable longer and beyond-line-of-sight missions. We look forward to working with industry partners to bring continued innovation to market.”

Furthermore, the University of Maryland’s (UMD) unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test site is serving as a testing facility for the new forecast solution.

“We are thrilled to support the efforts of Earth Networks to bring advanced weather data to drone operations, as it reinforces our commitment to accelerating the safe, effective application of UAS technology,” comments Anthony Pucciarella, director of operations at the UMD UAS test site.

More on the importance of advanced weather data for drone operations can be found here.

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