UAV Extends Wi-Fi Reach in Storm-Ravaged Areas for Disaster Relief

At the Smart America Expo, held this past June in Washington DC, 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. Wan and her colleagues were able to extend the Wi-Fi reach of drones to five kilometers. With support from the National Science Foundation, Wan is applying similar technology to next-generation aviation systems. In her research, Wan aims to enable drone-to-drone and flight-to-flight communications - improving air traffic safety, coordination, and efficiency.