There is typically no way to alert people to this fast moving, localized event. The frightening weather Dixon was seeing was not forecasted or even seen by traditional weather observation platforms.
Local news affiliates explained that they couldn’t see the event based on the modeling, but Dixon was seeing it, live and in real-time. It was in that moment that Dixon conceptualized the technology known as Helios®. He hypothesized that if cameras already existing on roads, buildings and campuses, why couldn’t we “teach” a camera to “report” conditions happening on a hyperlocal scale. Instead of seeing with your own eyes, these cameras could create thousands of ”eyes” across the nation.
Over the years, Helios has used this basic premise to evolve into a platform that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect the occurrence and impacts of weather through large terrestrial camera networks. Very localized, fast moving weather events that are generally missed by traditional sensing platforms are captured by these networks. This timely information supplements traditional weather data to provide a more complete picture, improving weather forecasting and decision making and providing better situational awareness – or nowcasting.
Organizations that are charged with making weather-related decisions, like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), can use information extracted from Helios to update forecasts and advisories. Those charged with traffic management can understand issues causing congestion, enhance traveler information and make better decisions for variable speed limits. People in the aviation industry can get real-time ground-based visibility and wind reports.
The Helios API also allows users to customize their information for forensic use to verify that certain weather conditions existed in specific areas. This type of information can be used to confirm insurance claims for wind or hail damage. Because Helios is dynamic, new applications are constantly being added such as modeling maritime conditions. Additional camera systems with APIs can be added into the Helios network for coverage in needed areas.