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.