Project overview

The Rapid Response Connectivity Carrier or R2C2 is a 90-meter communications tower packed into two suitcases that enables communications in emergency response.

The problem

Natural disasters affect 217 million people every year. During emergencies, telecommunications networks are often destroyed resulting in connectivity issues and losses in productivity and efficiency in emergency response. Current solutions mean that responders are only able to communicate in a very limited area, resulting in thousands of responders confined to small spaces, with no communications outside of that area.

Destruction on public infrastructure and private property in Beira after Cyclone Eloise made landfall in Mozambique. Photo: WFP/Rafael Campos


The solution

The Rapid Response Connectivity Carrier (R2C2) is a tethered drone solution flying 24 hours a day covering a 3 square kilometre area and providing potentially thousands of affected people with Internet access. A single cable runs between the ground station and the drone to carry both power and the data connection to the drone. R2C2 replaces two systems: 1) limited hotspot-based connectivity during crises and 2) the handheld radio network. The first prototype has been developed and its technical features successfully tested.

Drone plus connectivity payload. Photo: WFP/Patrick McKay

The way forward

The R2C2 project team plans to 1) test the WiFi-based R2C2 with WFP users in headquarters; 2) field test the WiFi-based R2C2 in a camp with users; and 3) develop an LTE-based R2C2 for extending coverage to even larger areas.

The R2C2 team. Photo by Gwenaelle le Cocguen of Elistair

Last updated: 02/11/2021