New Research and Innovation Partnership to Improve Weather Forecasts for Drone Operators

Posted on May 8, 2018

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ALBANY, N.Y. (May 3, 2018) – TruWeather Solutions LLC, a company that uses technology to cut costs for weather-sensitive businesses and government agencies, is collaborating with the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center to improve short-term weather forecasts for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operator, or drones.

The START-UP NY company is providing aviation weather expertise to University software engineers and researchers in the xCITE (ExTREME Collaboration, Innovation, & Technology) laboratory, where machine-learned prediction models are in development that could improve micro-weather forecasts critical to UAV mission success, according to Don Berchoff, founder and chief executive officer of TruWeather.

 “We’re developing technology that could take weather information and translate it into actionable countermeasures for UAV operators in real time,” Berchoff said, saying the project will focus initially on the New York State UAV Test Range. 

A UAV, commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft guided autonomously and/or by remote control.

The project seeks to improve forecasts specific to hazardous weather, which will lower liability risk, better preserve assets and enhance UAV proficiency, according to Berchoff, who founded TruWeather in 2015. 

He said that the eventual goal is to license the software from the University, where the company is located, and implement it in operational systems for UAV clients. 

“As a weather company, we see ourselves as a magnet for other innovative weather companies,” he said. “We’re trying to grow the ecosystem by attracting these companies to New York so that they can support [TruWeather], as well as generate funds for University.”

Berchoff said the company’s recent recognition at the GENIUS Awards in Syracuse, N.Y. earlier this month will support the initiative, as well as will funding from the Center of Excellence. TruWeather earned third place in the annual competition on April 9. The startup was awarded $400,000 by GENIUS NY, an in-residence business accelerator program.

A Future in ETEC

TruWeather is one of the companies slated to be housed in the Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex (ETEC) upon its completion in 2021.

Albany’s National Weather Service, the Atmospherics Sciences Research Center and New York State’s Mesonet will also be located at ETEC.

The proximity to these centers will create a unique nexus of opportunity for improving weather forecasts, Berchoff said.

“It’s what we always strive for in the weather industry: we bring together the private sector, academics and the government,” he said. “When we do that, really good things happen.”   

The University broke ground on facility earlier last month at the Harriman State Office Campus.


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