First ‘Quantum Drone’ Takes Off

Researchers at Nanjing University in China have developed a quantum drone to serve as an airborne node in a future quantum network.

The eight-rotor, 35-kg. (77-lb.) octocopter is equipped with an onboard quantum communication system.

During testing, the researchers demonstrated that the quantum drone can operate while hovering in midair for 40 minutes at a time.

The device is capable of maintaining two air-to-ground links, each about 100 meters long, and can receive and transmit entangled photons during the daytime, on a clear night, and even on a rainy night.

The researchers believe they can scale down the quantum communication system to fit in small consumer drones for on-demand local-area quantum networks, or scale it up for high-altitude drones that would serve as nodes in wide-area networks spanning hundreds of kilometers.


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