Liquid Robotics' Wave Gliders Collecting Hurricane Iselle Data from Ocean's Surface

A Sunnyvale-based company is using its floating drones to gather information and photos from inside the storm that’s headed for Hawaii’s Big Island

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    NEWSLETTERS

    As Hurricane Iselle bears down on Hawaii's Big Island, a Silicon Valley company is offering some high-tech help to visually track the storm. Monte Francis reports.

    As Hurricane Iselle bears down on Hawaii’s Big Island, a Silicon Valley company is offering some high-tech help to visually track the storm.

    Sunnyvale-based Liquid Robotics is taking us right into the eye of the storm. Its $300,000 drone, Wave Glider, doesn’t fly into the storm… It floats.

    Powered by solar panels, and equipped with a camera and weather gauges, some of the company’s Wave Gliders are right now autonomously tweeting back information and photos from inside the hurricane that’s headed for Hawaii’s Big Island. Hawaii Hit With Tropical Storm Iselle, Hurricane Julio on the Way Hawaii's One-Two Punch of Storms

    Gary Gysin is the company’s CEO.

    “It has a Java-based control system and one of the interesting things with this hurricane is that we can actually tweet the vehicle and get information off of it right in the middle of a hurricane,” Gysin said. “The difference here is that typically you get this information from satellites way above the earth’s surface. Here, we’re on the ocean surface collecting this data, which has never been done before.”

    Amanda Pacheco, of Oakland, is also tracking the hurricane and hoping her family, all of whom live on the Big Island, are prepared when the storm when it hits.

    Travelers Cut Hawaiian Vacation Short Fearing Hurricanes [BAY] Travelers Cut Hawaiian Vacation Short Fearing Hurricanes Some Bay Area travelers cut their vacations short, leaving Hawaii before two hurricanes are expected to hit the Big Island. Bob Redell reports. “I almost started crying talking to my mom,” Pacheco said. “I’m really worried about them and really love them.”

    Most of Pacheco’s family, including her mother, lives in Kona, which is in the storm’s path.
    However, her dad is in Hilo, which will likely get hit first.

    “My mom is still holding out hope that our big mountain will break up the storm,” Pacheco said. “I’m not sure that’s even possible, but she’s holding out hope the storm won’t make it to the Big Island.”