In its bid to offer Internet access to people in remote places of the world, Facebook announced on Thursday, July 30, that it is now ready to test its first high-altitude Internet-beaming drone.
“A full-scale version of Aquila — the high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft designed by our aerospace team in UK — is now complete and ready for flight testing,” Jay Parikh, Facebook vice president of global engineering and infrastructure, says in a blog post.
The company claims that the Aquila drone, which can remain aloft for a period of three months or so, will be able to beam Internet service to the grounds from a high altitude — which ranges from 18,000 to 27,000 meters.
Reports say that this solar-powered drone weighs lesser than a mini car, but has a wingspan which can be comparable with that of a Boeing 737 jet.
At a presentation at Facebook’s headquarters in California, Yael Maguire, the project’s engineering director, claims that the drones will provide ‘high-speed’ data connection that can even surpass most current speeds to an area that needs it.
“I’m excited to announce we’ve completed construction of our first full-scale aircraft, Aquila, as part of our Internet.org effort,” Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, announced in his Facebook post on Friday, July 31. “We’ve also made a breakthrough in laser communications technology. We’ve successfully tested a new laser that can transmit data at 10 gigabits per second.”
Zuckerberg added that the said company’s effort will cater to “10% of the world’s population” living in areas of the world “without existing Internet infrastructure.”
Last year, Facebook unveiled its plan to use satellite, laser technology, as well as drone to provide “Internet to everyone,” through its Connectivity Lab.
The Connectivity Lab is an essential component of the leading social networking site’s Internet.org mission with the main goal to provide Internet connection to individuals in developing nations.
Agence France-Presse. July 31, 2015. Facebook ready to test Internet-beaming drones. Accessed August 5, 2015. http://www.rappler.com/technology/news/101071-facebook-test-internet-beaming-drones