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Valdivia provides earthquake disaster responders with a reliable communications network that allows them to coordinate and operate efficiently.

 
 
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Interview

Name: Ken Gurwell

Job: Radio maintenance

supervisor for Pasadena

In an interview with a radio and relay expert I learned about the complex radio infrastructure cities such as Los Angeles have. These multi million dollar systems have a large amount of redundancy in their system that if a large earthquake were to happen most likely they would survive. This is not true for most cities. Most areas will suffer from total communications blackout after a large earthquake.


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Current Systems

One of the three relays

in Pasadena right

behind ArtCenter

Many cities that are at a high risk of a catastrophic earthquake do not have robust emergency systems.

Locally in the United states it can take up to 3 days for FEMA to establish a functional communications network.

Internationally, depending on the remoteness aid can be delayed much longer.


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Technical Insights

A relay station in the

basement of the Pasadena

police station

1 watt per mile of range

Digital radio systems allow for multiple channels on one frequency

The higher the relay the further the signal can travel


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Prototyping

A functional hexacopter relay

unit capable of providing 5

extra miles of range

I felt the best way to start designing this object that involves so many parts that have to work together was by first building a functional prototype. This archetype model greatly informed my design by allowing me to understand the necessary requirement for a feasible concept.


 
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01.

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The three wide angle cameras allow the drone to autonomously navigate its environment without input from a human.

 

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The hexagonal body shape allows batteries to be effectively packed into the main body. This shell is made of lightweight carbon composite.

 

Flight System

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02.

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The three antennas transmit a digital radio signal as well as its location. The digital radio system allows for more channels to be operated with less power needed.

 

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The radio relays can transmit up to 5 miles to a radio or another relay drone. Areas dense with obstacles, such as cities, may require more relays for a seamless network.

 

Relay

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03.

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A + and - charge plate is located on the top of the carrying case. Metal feet on the drone allow for autonomous charging without the need for human intervention or precise landing.

 

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Each case has a unique charge grid. The pattern allows the drone to properly orient itself with the charging plate.

 

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The case gets plugged into a gas generator using a standard electrical cord.

 

Charging

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