Students led by Professor Andreas Mitschele at the Ilmenau University of Technology have designed and tested new quadcopter robots as a mean of setting up Wireless networks ad-hoc and in minutes with the aim of being deployed in the event of disasters when normal infrastructure has been destroyed.
Multiple robots can create a network of radios that provide both mobile-phone and standard wireless network access which is hoped can be used for distress calls, emails, texts and even in recovery operations.
The only problem seems to be batteries at present, although the actual robot can be built for less than 300 Euros, the batteries weigh in about €1K! And then only last for abotu 20 minutes flying time. However it is hoped this would be enoguh to gain access to higher ground where they then should provide signal for a number of hours before needed to be re-deployed.