When Texas was earlier this year and the state’s independent power grid failed, several people said to access the internet and get information about the situation that is developing. Climate change makes these types of meteorological events once in a lifetime a more frequent event and forces carriers to adapt.
On Tuesday, Verizon (parent company of Engadget) unveiled the Tactical Humanitarian Operational Response Vehicle (THOR). The transporter built THOR with a modified Ford F650 truck. The front of the vehicle has seats for one driver and five passengers, while the “command center” seen in the back has space for three people. THOR can bring 5G and satellite connectivity to an area where a natural disaster may have disrupted network access or there was no connection in the first place.
Verizon predicts that THOR will assist first responders and the military “in almost any condition,” whether it’s fires outside California or after a hurricane in Florida, as just a few examples. The company developed the prototype with the help of Pentagon’s NavalX and SoCal TechBridge. Outside of connecting first responders and military personnel, it also comes with an attached drone that can be used for search and rescue operations and gathering information about a disaster.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an American carrier trot such an initiative. Back in 2019, AT&T showed up , a 55-foot balloon that the carrier said could fly over disaster sites and provide wireless communication for first responders.
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