We see a lot of drone news around here, but Facebook’s video behind the engineering of its Internet.org drone is impressive stuff.
Facebook released this video giving an inside look into the development of its Wi-Fi enabling drones, part of the company’s plan to bring the Internet to the entire world.
Mark Zuckerberg posted news of the project via his Facebook page, announcing that Facebook’s Connectivity Lab had completed building the company’s first full-scale aircraft called Aquila for its Internet.org project.
“Aquila is a solar-powered, unmanned plane that beams down internet connectivity from the sky. It has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but weighs less than a car and can stay in the air for months at a time,” Zuckerberg wrote.
In the video, Aquila’s engineering team also points out that the lightweight aircraft made of carbon fiber will be able to reach altitudes of 60,000 feet and its battery will last a mind-blowing three months.
“We have to challenge every assumption,” said Yael Maguire, director of engineering for Facebook’s Connectivity Lab in the video. “We have to challenge the means by which Internet is delivered itself.”
The aircraft will use lasers and radio frequency technology to deliver that Internet to remote places, with Zuckerberg also announcing that they’ve “successfully tested a new laser that can transmit data at 10 gigabits per second. That’s ten times faster than any previous system, and it can accurately connect with a point the size of a dime from more than 10 miles away.”
Of course, the drone race for the skies is more than well on, Google being one of the other tech giants trying to connect the entire planet with its Wi-Fi balloon project, Project Loon. Amazon has decidedly different goals with its drone projects. Last week we reported on Amazon’s latest plans for delivery drones, including asking the government to designate airspace between 200 or 400 feet for its commercial drones.