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Bosch Sensortec

WindBorne Systems' innovative weather balloons revolutionize environmental data collection enhanced by Bosch Sensortec’s pressure sensors

In an era of accelerated global warming, businesses, governments, and citizens are desperate for accurate predictions about the weather. By collecting critical data with their patented balloon technology and Bosch Sensortec sensors, WindBorne Systems can power more accurate forecasts and solve real-world problems.

Weather Balloon
  • WindBorne Systems' smart, long-duration weather balloons fly for hundreds of times longer than traditional weather balloons, and in that time circumnavigate the globe to collect the critical weather data everyone else is missing.
  • Better weather forecasts powered by this data can save upwards of 500 megatons of carbon emissions through better routing of ships and planes and by accelerating the transition to renewables. Governments and citizens also rely on accurate weather forecasts to prepare for and respond to extreme weather events like hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding.
  • WindBorne Systems’ solution will be showcased at the Bosch booth at CES2024.

Pioneers in smart long-duration weather balloons

WindBorne Systems, founded in 2019 by a team of Stanford University alumni, is at the forefront of long-duration smart weather balloon development. Their balloons measure crucial environmental data like temperature, humidity, air pressure, and wind information every 10 seconds. This data holds immense value across industries including agriculture, energy, and aviation, leading to collaborations and contracts with esteemed organizations such as NOAA, NCAR, the U.S. Air Force, the Office of Naval Research, and the UCSD Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

Pre Launch set-up of a WiondBorne Systems' weather balloon

Distinguished by their exceptional endurance, WindBorne Systems' weather balloons can stay airborne for a duration of up to 40 days. In contrast, standard weather balloons typically complete a 2-hour flight before bursting and descending to Earth, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). What sets these balloons apart is not only their extended flight times but also their ability to collect data over 85% of the earth where the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) deems it lacking. Because weather blows out of these “data deserts” and across 100% of the earth, this achievement translates into enhanced forecast accuracy everywhere.

BMP581 sensors as the key to accuracy and functionality

One of the key components driving the accuracy of these balloons is the BMP581 barometric pressure sensor from Bosch Sensortec. BMP581 sensors installed by WindBorne Systems undergo multiple temperature and pressure cycles, followed by a multi-day calibration process. This calibration involves using 5th-order error models for pressure and temperature coefficients, with the coefficients stored in a memory chip on the PCB. This calibration is a one-time process, eliminating the need for recurring recalibrations, thanks to the stability of the BMP581 sensors.

WindBorne uses up to six BMP581 sensors in one weather balloon, which serve various purposes including the determination of atmospheric pressure to complement meteorological data collection and measuring the altitude for controlling the balloon's ascent, crucial for tracking trajectories guided by satellite commands. The balloon’s altitude is regulated to ensure a stable flight position by either dropping sand ballast to make the balloon rise or releasing the lifting gas to lower the balloon. WindBorne also utilizes the sensors to assess overpressure within the weather balloon by placing sensors both inside and outside the balloon to calculate the pressure difference. Additionally, the barometric pressure sensors are used to verify the deployment of the sensor package 10 meters below the balloon to collect unbiased data.

WindBorne's flight paths and launch sites
WindBorne's flight paths and launch sites

Weather balloons chart the path to safer communities and sustainability

"Our weather balloons empower us to provide precise forecasts and respond more swiftly to extreme weather events like hurricanes, wildfires, and heatwaves, ultimately saving lives and safeguarding communities. Bosch Sensortec’s pressure sensor plays a pivotal role in enabling our solution," says Kai Marshland, founder of WindBorne Systems.

WindBorne Systems' weather balloons can play a crucial role in both preventing further climate damage and adapting to the climate changes already underway. Improved weather forecasts enhance transportation efficiency, resulting in significant fuel savings and reduced carbon emissions. For instance, they enable airplanes to leverage tailwinds and allow ships to navigate calmer seas. Additionally, these forecasts reduce uncertainties, accelerating the adoption of renewable energy sources, stabilizing the electrical grid, and promoting renewable energy adoption.

Curious to discover more about how WindBorne Systems utilizes the BMP581 barometric pressure sensor in their solution? Then visit the Bosch booth at CES 2024. Learn more about WindBorne Systems.