“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,” Prof Debarati Sen, who led the research team, said.
The disaster-hit network connection is restored through the nearest mobile tower.
In the case of network disruptions, the drones can intelligently avoid it by changing their location.
For people travelling to an affected region and devoid of any cellular network, they can be auto-connected to such nearby drone service as they search for the mobile network.
“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 said.
The team of researchers has submitted the phase-I report to the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology which is funding the project.
The researchers are open to the commercialisation of this intelligent UAV system.
“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,” the researchers said.