Going by the latest media reports, researchers from G S Sanyal School of Telecommunication at IIT Kharagpur have developed a UAV-assisted 5G communication infrastructure. This infrastructure can double up as an airborne mobile telecom tower during emergencies.
A fleet of drones is fitted to an android-based application which is further included in the system. As per a statement from IIT Kharagpur, using the closest available mobile tower, the drones are programmed to create emergency communication networks.
Professor Debarati Sen, who was leading the research team stated, “Through intelligent programming, we can deploy our 5G-connected drone fleet in a particular location as soon as the first emergency signal is flagged. The data in the telecommunication backbone network is relayed to the rescue server, located thousands of miles away, within the first three minutes of the occurrence of a disaster.”
If the drones sense any disruptions in the network, they can avoid it intelligently by changing their location. Locations that are devoid of cellular networks benefit greatly as anyone using the internet in such areas can auto-connect to a nearby drone.
“We have already studied the performance of the UAV network with the app “NerQuake” in situations of emergency response in disaster management and maintenance of the quality of service by deploying a fleet of four unmanned aerial vehicles. We have used network coverage data of various mobile service providers in the northeastern states in verifying the functionality of the app,” Sen added.
The team of researchers from IIT Kharagpur has submitted a phase-I report to the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology which is funding the project.
The researchers were quoted as saying, “The prospects of this system are wide-ranging. Apart from a disaster situation, these smart drones can be used for crowd management. In agriculture, these UAVs can be used for crop health monitoring.”