The software developed to help airline pilots land their planes at sea could be used to help people survive an extreme weather event, potentially saving lives.
A report published Monday by the International Air Transport Association said the new software could save lives during extreme weather events.
The technology would allow pilots to land their aircraft at low altitude and take off in the face of high winds, rain or snow, allowing the aircraft to safely glide through heavy storms.
The report said the technology would be widely available in the coming years.
In the study, published in the Journal of Aviation Medicine, researchers from several universities used data from the International Civil Aviation Organization’s National Weather Service, to create a simulation of an extreme event such as a hurricane or typhoon.
The simulations were done on the International Space Station, which is a platform that could fly a Boeing 777.
The team created three different scenarios to show how the new technology could help pilots.
One scenario used data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey.
The other three simulated a typhoon in the Caribbean Sea.
A third scenario was designed by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, based on the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s computer models.
The researchers used data on air traffic controllers, rescue helicopters, weather radar and data from satellites to create their simulations.
This scenario, based in part on data from a U.N. weather satellite, simulated a hurricane near the coast of Brazil.
While the researchers were able to simulate the storm and its effects, the team said that their findings are not definitive.
“These simulations should not be used as a definitive prediction of what might occur in the real world, because our research did not simulate an event as severe as Hurricane Irene in 2014,” the report said.
“This work is focused on how our simulations could work in the future, and how it might help pilots avoid extreme events.”
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.