In the event of an emergency where infrastructure has been damaged, communication is key and one of the ways we rely on communications these days is through the internet, but if the internet is down, how will that work? Granted there are other means, but Facebook is looking at methods to keep the connection alive.

In the past we have seen how Facebook has tried out the idea using drones, but in a recent announcement, Facebook revealed that they are testing out a new helicopter drone that will be able to achieve the same thing, but the main difference is that these helicopter drones will be able to stay afloat for months on end.

According to Facebook, “For situations where a faster deployment is needed — such as a natural disaster, when infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed but some fiber lines still work — we’ve developed what we call Tether-tenna. It’s a small helicopter tethered to a fiber line and power—essentially, insta-infrastructure.”

“If the fiber line is still good to a certain point, we can make a virtual tower by flying a Tether-tenna a few hundred feet from the ground. When completed, this technology will be able to be deployed immediately and operate for months at a time to bring back connectivity in case of an emergency — ensuring the local community can stay connected while the in-ground connectivity is under repair.”

However Facebook notes that this helicopter drone/Tether-tenna is still in the early stages of development which means that we probably shouldn’t expect to see it in action anytime soon.

Filed in Robots. Read more about drones and Facebook.

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