HIRO-NET is tailored for connected communities affected by natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes,
floods). The key strength of HIRONET is its capability to seamlessly generate local mesh networks that are
then bridged through automated vehicles by means of distributed, dynamic and efficient algorithms. The higher
the density of users running the HIRONET app, the higher the connectivity of the emergency network. Since
users benefit by being connected to the HIRONET system (e.g., capability to communicate with neighbors and
possible Internet access), our solution naturally incentivizes adoption of HIRONET among affected
The HIRO-NET robotic overlay network is based on air/ground/water autonomous vehicles,
capable of both short and longrange communications, deployed to search and connect survivors. Hence,
HIRONET is adaptable to heterogeneous environments and provides an emergency network rapidly
deployable multiple terrains and weather conditions. Search and connect operations rely on graph optimization
and clustering algorithms that use geographical and topological features of the disaster area to improve the
probability of discovering new disconnected meshes and maximize the size of the covered area.
HIRO-NET establishes a two-tier mesh network. The lower-tier consists of local
mesh networks generated via shortrange communications. The uppertier uses goTenna to interconnect
drones and other robots and connects isolated meshes to the global HIRONET network. It also
carries dynamic control and coordination information among robots and first responders (e.g., discovered mesh
networks, previously visited PoIs). If one or more survivors in the discovered meshes have Internet access
(e.g., over online cellular, satellite or WiFi stations), the uppertier is used to share access with all survivors in
the lower-tier via routing algorithms.
The physical network architecture is as follows:
Instead, the logical network architecture of the two-tier HIRO-NET emergency network can be summarized as follows:
Immediately after a disaster, users activate the HIRO-NET application on their smart device (iOS or
Android). HIRO-NET automatically begins the first phase of establishing a self-organizing local mesh network
connecting nearby survivors via WiFi and BLE. The current HIRONET prototype is built upon the Bridgefy
SDK and provides a novel energy-aware OS-independent algorithm that creates an efficient topology, and
allows Internet-connected peers to share Internet with the entire network.
The second phase consists of deploying a set of air drones to identify existing disconnected mesh networks.
Each drone carries a polyglot multiradio node, endowed with three radio interfaces: Bluetooth, WiFi, long
range VHF based on the goTenna mesh suite.
In the third phase, HIRO-NET deploys a robotic mesh network to bridge local disconnected meshes. Through
the goTenna radios, drones and other robots have control links operating on VHF frequencies over ranges of
0.52 miles, thus maintaining interrobot mesh connectivity. The robotic overlay network has Internet access,
provided, in absence of cellular connectivity, through one or more satellite links established at rescue
The protocol architecture of HIRO-NET is as follows: