Puerto Rico suffered widespread devastation after it was struck by Hurricane Maria. The island’s power grid was badly affected and residents were left without cellphone reception and internet access. To help restore cellular coverage on the island, the FAA has approved flying cow drones that act as cell towers in the sky.

AT&T describes its flying cow drones as a cell tower in the sky. This is the first time that this technology is being used to reconnect residents after a natural disaster.

The FAA granted its approval to these drones last Friday. They resemble a small helicopter. The “Cow” in Flying Cow actually stands for Cell on Wings.

The drone can hover 200 feet above the ground and it provides wireless service to anyone within a 40 mile area. The drone remains connected to the ground via cables for power and signals. It links up to satellites to transfer texts, data, and calls.

AT&T had to receive a special waiver from the FAA because routine commercial drone use is limited to those that weigh less than 55 pounds.

Google’s parent company Alphabet previously received approval to deploy its LTE Project Loon balloons in Puerto Rico. They’ve help restore connectivity in parts of the island as well.

Filed in Cellphones. Read more about AT&T and drones.

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