The South China Morning Post has reported that China deployed the Wing Loong 2H military scale drone to restore communications during the recent floods, in another example of how drone technology can be utilized for disaster response.
“The Wing Loong 2H drone has come to your town and it can temporarily resume communications,” China Mobile said in a text to every mobile phone user in the area. “Please connect with your relatives soon and report your situation.”
Using the Wing Loong 2H drone to restore communications meant that more than 3,600 China Mobile customers, some stranded by the floods, were able to reach out to family and services. In a second flight, the drone provided communications to more than 1,800 people trapped in a hospital in Zhengzhou. The drone also flew over the area affected by the flood to perform damage assessment.
The flights “represented the first disaster relief deployment for the Wing Loong 2H emergency relief unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which had been tested in an exercise last October for tasks such as restoring communications and sending real-time images in areas without base station coverage,” says the article.
The Wing Loong manufacturer says that the drones can be used to provide communications for up to 35 hours. Drones can be used to restore communications by acting as a bridge between mobile phones and satellites. While satellite communication is slower, it is not affected by weather on the ground.
China has also tested passenger drones for emergency rescue : unmanned aircraft offer significant advantages in safety and efficiency during natural disasters including flooding, fires and earthquakes.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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