Latest in Gear

Image credit:

Drone network provides early warnings for natural disasters

The drones can also serve as WiFi hotspots to keep people online.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
February 4, 2020
16 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Queen's University Belfast

Drones might soon deliver a heads-up when natural disasters are about to strike. Researchers have developed a communication system that uses a drone network to provide early warnings for disasters. The challenge wasn't so much the drone-to-drone communication as the battery life. Where a typical hobbyist drone rarely lasts more than half an hour in the air, a smarter resource allocation method helps this system lasts three to five longer while covering a large area. The drones can also form a WiFi hotspot that keeps people online when conventional infrastructure has fallen apart.

These drone sentries should be relatively inexpensive, costing less than some professional drones. It's more resilient than some warning systems, too. Where river monitoring stations frequently collapse in floods and other natural catastrophes, the drones can fly above the chaos as long as they have a charge.

Unlike many research projects, there's already a customer. Vietnam's Disaster Management Authority has picked the drone network to help monitor extreme weather and get in touch with emergency services. Whether or not other countries follow suit is less than certain. The US Interior Department, for instance, recently grounded its Chinese-made drones over security fears. It may take a lot of persuasion (and non-Chinese drones) before you see drones keeping watch over American waterways.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
16 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Netflix is raising the price of standard and premium plans in the US

Netflix is raising the price of standard and premium plans in the US

View
Microsoft Excel spreadsheets now take custom live data

Microsoft Excel spreadsheets now take custom live data

View
Jabra Elite 85t review: Noise-blocking comfort that rivals the best

Jabra Elite 85t review: Noise-blocking comfort that rivals the best

View
Some Google One plans now come with a complimentary VPN

Some Google One plans now come with a complimentary VPN

View
Intel's 11th-gen Rocket Lake desktop CPUs will max out at 8 cores

Intel's 11th-gen Rocket Lake desktop CPUs will max out at 8 cores

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr