A drone that can provide cell and internet signals in remote areas where there is often no signal will soon be tested by Britain's mountain rescue teams, who have often been hampered by inability to stay in touch with lost or injured hikers.
The drone, nicknamed 'Dragon' and built by the Snowdonia Aerospace Centre, has been successfully flight-tested at Llanbedr airport in Gwynedd, and will get triels with rescue and emergency services next year, starting with the team that covers the Snowdonia region, one of the most popular—and challenging—areas for hikers.
Rescue team members will be able to put up the drone when there is a report of someone missing, and will be able to use it both to contact the hiker and to coordinate among themselves.
Mountain rescue teams responded to a record 3,629 emergency calls in England and Wales last year, nearly a thousand more than a year before. A number of rescue team members point out that often hikers relying on cellphone GPS get too little information, and then none when the signal drops.