The latest buzz from Day 2 of Facebook’s F8 conference is that Facebook is looking forward to build a fleet of solar-powered air drones codenamed ‘Aquila’ for its Internet.org project.
The unmanned aerial vehicles, popularly known as drones will be used to “beam internet” to the 5 billion+ users who don’t have it yet. Interestingly, ‘Aquila’ has its origins in the Greek Mythology, with it being the eagle that carried Zeus’s lightning bolts for him.
Aquila can reportedly stay in the air for up to three months at a time, and beam high-speed internet from between 60,000 and 90,000 feet in the air. The intuitive team of engineers at Facebook have designed it in such a way that it weighs less than a car but is still as broad as a Boeing 737.
The first flights will reportedly begin this summer, although “commercial deployment may take years,” the New York Times notes. Facebook executives are not sure how much the final version of Aquila will cost the company.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted to Facebook:
[quote_center author=””]As part of our Internet.org effort to connect the world, we’ve designed unmanned aircraft that can beam internet access down to people from the sky.
Today, I’m excited to share that we’ve successfully completed our first test flight of these aircraft in the UK.
Aircraft like these will help connect the whole world because they can affordably serve the 10% of the world’s population that live in remote communities without existing internet infrastructure. [/quote_center]
Facebook acquired the drone maker, Ascenta back in 2014 which seems to be the brains behind Aquila. The Internet.org initiative is Facebook’s attempt to bring internet to the masses. Established in August 2013, it has been one of the major focus areas of Facebook. Recently, Zuckerberg also announced his plans to bring Internet.org to India.
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