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Drones for disaster relief


At the Smart America Expo, Yan Wan from the University of North Texas exhibited unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) she developed that are capable of providing wireless communications to storm-ravaged areas where telephone access might be out.

Typical wireless communications have a range limit of only a hundred meters. However using technology developed by Wan and her colleagues, they were able to extend the Wi-Fi reach of drones to five kilometers.

In a grant from NSF, Wan is applying similar technology to next-generation aviation systems. One day, Wan's research will enable drone-to-drone and flight-to-flight communications, improving air traffic safety, coordination and efficiency.

Credit: NSF

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