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Power drones: Toyota supplier tries novel fix to disaster outages

Aisan Industry looks to 'airdrop' electricity to cut-off communities

Aisan Industry's drone could help homes and shelters keep their lights on even when they are cut off by a natural disaster. (Photo by Yuki Fukumoto)

NAGOYA, Japan -- In disaster-prone Japan, earthquakes, landslides and other emergencies can cut off entire communities from power grids, sometimes for days. But one auto parts maker is looking to solve that problem with a drone that can double as a storage battery and generator.

During a test run on Wednesday, a loud buzz echoed through the mountains of Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, as a drone landed next to a local community center. Once situated, the device was able to power an electric kettle, a fan and a smartphone charger even after a roughly 2 km flight.

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