Texas Drones Built To Save Lives

Aug 13, 2014

Drones have gotten international notoriety because of their ability to take out bad guys (and, at times, bystanders). Sometimes, they’re described as killing machines. But drones can also save lives.

Two UNT professors have developed a drone for emergencies – it’s capable of providing Wi-Fi to storm-ravaged areas where telephone access is out.

Hovering 2o feet in the air is something that sounds like a beehive, and looks like a spider.

But this five pound drone is nothing to fear. In fact, it could be a lifesaver.

UNT professors Shengli Fu and Yan Wan created this drone, also known as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), to deliver Wi-Fi to victims at disaster sites – like earthquakes or tornadoes – where communication systems have been knocked out.

“We can dispatch in 20 minutes,” Fu says, “And then send Wi-Fi internet access so people can transmit their real time information back to the rescue team and the rescue team can say, we’re here, hold on a second.”

Better Than Café Wi-Fi

Current Wi-Fi networks transmit a signal that spans only 100 meters, about the length of a football field. This drone can send Wi-Fi up to three thousand meters.

For a video of the drone in action, and the rest of the story, visit our Breakthroughs blog.