China is using drones to catch exam cheats

Eyes in the sky

Chinese invigilators are employing new technology in an attempt to stop students cheating in one of the country's trickiest exams - drones hovering above to check for unusual radio activity.

The National Higher Education Entrance Exam, commonly known as gaokao or 'the big test', is held annually to decide which students qualify for a university place. Almost nine million people take it each year.

But some try to cheat to improve their chances - taking covert photos of the exam questions using a special pen, and sending it to someone outside who then gives the correct answers back through an earpiece.

Unusual activity

So the city of Luoyang, in Henan province in the centre of the country, has begun using drones to monitor radio activity in the area where the exam takes place. The UAV hovers 500 metres above the students' heads and can alert school staff if unusual activity is detected.

The invigilators can use tablet computers to control the drone, and spot the cheater's exact location. Anyone caught will be banned from taking any national exams for three years.