Facebook Tested Internet Drone in Britain
The concept of unmanned aircraft is getting popular i era. The drones are being used for various purposes such as traffic surveillance, border control and even for pizza delivering pizza. The Aquila is the drone made by Facebook’s year-old Connectivity Lab (FB, Tech30). The lab has been working on new technology as part of the Facebook’s mission to “connect everyone in the world.” Approximately 4 billion people don’t have the privilege of accessing the Internet, and 10% of the world’s population lacks the basic infrastructure required to get online. To reach these people, Facebook is working on satellites, drones, laser sand terrestrial Internet technology.
At the Facebook annual conference ( F8 conference) this year in San Francisco, Facebook announced its first drone that is Aquila and how it plans to use it to beam the Internet down to billions of people around the world. The Aquila is the first solar power-driven Internet drone. The drone will use laser technology to bring Internet in reach of developing countries where Internet connectivity does not exist. Aquila will be able to fly for three months at a time continuously without Landing.The Company plans to use inter-connected network of the drones for its Internet.org project to provide internet access to rural areas. Facebook will partner with the local ISPs to offer the services instead of dealing with the customers directly. The drones would provide Internet speeds of 10 GHz bits per second. The test will be in the US at the end of this year. Zuckerberg blog posted on Facebook that we have found great success in laser communication technologies. We have to test the laser, which can transmit data per second to 10 gigabytes. It is 10 times faster than existing systems. It connects precisely even from 10 miles away.
The wingspan of the Drone is as large as the Boeing 737 wings and can fly at an altitude of about 90 thousand feet which is well above the altitude of commercial airplanes so that it doesn’t create hindrance to commercial aircraft.. According to the Facebook connectivity lab director, Aquila wings are made from carbon fibre material to make it stronger and resistant to harsh weather up there in stratosphere. When the carbon fibre heating process passes, it becomes stronger than steel.The Aquila lacks wheel so it makes it unable to climb from ground to its cruising level without any support, so it will be carried with the help of helium balloons which will raise it to its designated height. The balloon will be easily capable of carrying the plane the drone because of its light weight. Even when fully laden with all communication gears, it will weigh just 880 lbs (400 kg) which is 5 times less than the recognisable Reaper drone used by the US military. The Aquila drone has a wingspan of 42 metres compared to the 15 meters breadth of Reaper’s 16.
The Aquila program, which was first tested in Britain in March this year is aimed towards providing the internet access to the people of the world who lacks internet connectivity in their region. Google has developed a similar programme aiming to bring wireless internet to rural areas using high-altitude helium balloons. The programme is called Project Loon and it involves fitting transmitters to the balloons which will fly at similar altitudes to Facebook’s drones.Facebook a year ago launched Internet.org, an initiative to provide access to the two-thirds of the world without a reliable connection. The project, which partners with local mobile carriers to offer free internet access on basic smartphones across Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Here is the 3min. Video uploaded by Facebook.