In case a mobile phone base station becomes unusable due to a disaster, communication companies are in full swing to develop "flying base stations" that fly unmanned aircraft and send and receive radio waves in the sky.

Each company is developing a system called "HAPS" that will fly an unmanned aircraft into the stratosphere 20 kilometers above the ground and use the communication equipment mounted on the aircraft as a substitute for a base station.

In Japan, a major telecommunications company is developing, and this month Softbank issued corporate bonds to raise 30 billion yen to accelerate the plan of a "flying base station" using a 78-meter double-winged aircraft with solar panels. increase.

Approximately 40 aircraft under development can cover the entire area of ​​Japan, and it is expected that it will be used as a backup if the base station on the ground becomes unusable due to a disaster, and five years later, it will be commercialized overseas first. I am aiming for.

Ryuji Yukawa, general manager of SoftBank's Advanced Technology Development Division, said, "We would like to promote the creation of safety, cost, and operational rules, and commercialize them from countries and regions where they can be deployed."

Last year, NTT DoCoMo also succeeded in transmitting radio waves from an unmanned aerial vehicle in a joint experiment with an aircraft manufacturer, Airbus.

"Flying base stations" are expected to be used not only in the event of a disaster but also in developing countries where communication infrastructure is not in place, and Japanese telecommunications companies are in full swing to lead this field.