Facebook Will Begin Testing Its Solar-Powered Internet-Beaming Drones This Summer

The project will go directly head to head with Google’s Loon Project.

Facebook has announced that it plans to begin testing its solar-powered drones this summer, as part of its effort to beam affordable Internet to the billions of people without access to it today.
The drone – dubbed Aquila – will have the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but will weigh only as much as a small car.
The announcement comes soon after Google announced its tie up with several service providers for its Project Loon, which utilizes high-altitude balloons to beam internet down to devices on the ground.
Both companies are currently engaged in a race to bring the 1.1 – 2.8 billion unconnected people online, and apart from drones and balloons are also evaluating use of low-orbit satellites in order to do so.
Facebook however added that its drones will not be beaming internet to remote locations across the globe anytime soon, as it first needs to test the drone’s communication and safety features, and also form partnerships with carriers.
While there are still many questions regarding Facebook’s Internet beaming drones, potential candidates for failure are the solar and battery technologies which have been developed just a year ago.
Drones that provide affordable Internet access in some of the most remote locations on earth is an extension of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative that looks to provide web services (including Facebook) for free to users.
[via: WSJ]

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