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Texas Researchers Expand Boundaries Of UAS WiFi

Researchers from the University of North Texas recently demonstrated how a small unmanned aircraft could provide long-range wireless communications to areas ravaged by natural disasters.

Such disasters often wipe out telephone communications, but the researchers showed that WiFi signals from a UAS could extend for as far as five kilometers, or a little over three miles, by using directional antennas that can automatically adjust to provide a strong connection.

“This technology would be very useful in disaster scenarios when the cell towers are down and there’s no communications infrastructure,” said the university’s Yan Wan in a press release from the National Science Foundation, which is funding Wan’s further research. “However, in order to enable the information dissemination between the rescue teams and control centers, we need to have a structure available to make this happen. And this is what we’re trying to provide.”

The NSF grant will go toward putting the technology on next-generation aviation systems, which could one day enable UAS-to-UAS and flight-to-flight communications, which the NSF says will improve air traffic coordination and safety.



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