Flying mobile towers may up India’s broadband penetration

City start-up to design drones for diverse applications

Updated - October 22, 2021 05:49 pm IST

Published - October 21, 2021 03:49 am IST - Bengaluru

Start-up VFLYX’s drones being flown on the outskirts of the city.

Start-up VFLYX’s drones being flown on the outskirts of the city.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) can become flying mobile towers to bring wireless telephony, Internet access and mobility to people who live in far-flung, remote and tough terrains of India.

Bengaluru start-up, VFLYX India, the drone tech arm of e-com platform for electronic/tech gadgets, XBOOM Utilities, is now doing R&D to introduce such drones. A proof of concept is expected to be ready in a year, as per the firm.

A swarm of long-flying drones, powered either by solar, electric, gasoline or hybrid engines have to be used to create a mobile tower environment (they become both receivers and repeaters) to ensure seamless Internet and mobile access to people in no-connectivity areas, said Rohit Dey, CTO, UAV/Drones at VFLYX.

The start-up was currently working on swarm drone technology (that allows drones to fly similar to that of a flock of birds) to deploy various applications ranging from cellphone tower infrastructure, aerial entertainments including fireworks, light shows and laser displays; aerial advertisements, brand campaigns, product launches, sky messaging, disaster warnings or public announcements (from governments and local bodies), holiday greetings, wedding/birthday wishes, etc., said Mr. Dey, a NASA Young Scientist in 2015 and a Hall of Famer for his research in drone technology.

According to Vishal Saurav, CEO & Co-Founder VFLYX, drones can potentially become aerial towers that are quick to set up, cost effective, easily movable and also ideal in disaster management when networks are fully disrupted.

“Drone tech is going to take off in a big way as our country now has a supportive environment. This gives entrepreneurs the confidence to invest in R&D and innovation. Drones are going to be like flying robots and AI, ML and Edge Computing will make intelligent and autonomous,” Mr. Saurav stated.

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