Facebook Tether-Tenna emergency communications helicopter drone

tether-tenna

Facebook would like to quickly connect people in the event of an emergency. Yale Maguire has revealed that they have been experimenting with a helicopter lifting a hotspot. Making the internet reach parts other service providers just can’t reach.

It’s not a new way of doing business, in 1901 Guglielmo Marconi received the letter S in morse code from an antenna lifted by a kite in Newfoundland. The letter was sent from Cornwall. This was the first transatlantic transmission.

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. This is still in the early stages of development and lots of work is needed to ensure that it will be able operate autonomously for months at a time, but we’re excited about the progress so far.

Not sure why they went for a tethered helicopter, a multirotor should be equally able. Hak5 did a similar thing a couple of years ago used a multirotor for ADS-B experiments.

Tethered multirotors have operated for days with power being supplied via the tether. MMC claim 54 hours for their system.

Elistair already offers tethered communication multirotors.

Oh and ATT has their flying COWS (cell on wings)

So um Yale, what’s new?