Researchers at the University of North Texas developed a WiFi drone that is capable of supplying wireless Internet coverage to disaster-struck areas. The drone will be able to supply WiFi with a range of up to 5 km, a significant improvement over existing alternatives.
Natural disasters often lead to damage to communications infrastructure such as cell towers, making it difficult for response teams to communicate with each other and keep victims informed.
Whereas typical WiFi antennas usually have a range of only around 100 m, the researchers were able to extend this by developing a special directional antenna that rotates to align with targets, allowing for a stronger communications link without signal disruption.
The WiFi drone technology could even give rise to an entirely new form of wireless communication with implications beyond disaster response.