Aquila Solar-Powered Internet Drone Successfully Tested By Facebook

Things are trying up for Facebook’s plans to supply high-speed web property to nearly everybody on the world. Not solely did a team of scientists from the corporate discern a way to improve knowledge transmission by optical maser beams on, however the social network’s experimental Aquila drone finally had its maiden voyage.
The flight, that was the primary all-out check of the Aquila vehicle, truly passed about 3 weeks past at the Yuma Proving Grounds in Yuma, Ariz. the corporate had been running check flights with a common fraction scale model of the vehicle for many months, however the June flight pictured the primary time it had flown a all-out version of the drone.

Internet from the Sky

During the low-altitude check flight, the drone remained mobile for ninety six minutes, the corporate same, throughout which era it cruised at AN altitude of concerning two,150 feet higher than water level, whereas intense solely two,000 watts of power. The drone is intended to run on alternative energy throughout the day and battery power in the dead of night.

Eventually, however, the Aquila can reach a daily cruising altitude of 60,000 — 90,000 feet, golf shot it way higher than each industrial flight lanes and any inclement weather, all whereas overwhelming solely 5,000 watts, regarding a similar quantity of electricity required to power a high-end microwave. The drones are designed to be deployed as a fleet of autonomous craft capable of delivering web property to anyone at intervals a 60-mile communication diameter for up to ninety days at a time.

We spoke with Omar Akhtar, analyst at the measuring system cluster, United Nations agency told North American country the Aquila craft and also the property laboratory generally support the company’s strategy of changing into synonymous with the complete web, not simply social media. “Facebook desires to be a utility,” Akhtar aforementioned.

Although the platform magnificently began its life as a social network, it’s since evolved into a broader content platform. The company’s goal is to leverage its massive client base to become a one-stop-shop for web services. “Their strategy is to possess the net,” Akhtar aforementioned. “So if you would like be diverted by videos, or order one thing on-line, you head to Facebook.”

The Aquila project supports that strategy by addressing the untapped market of individuals World Health Organization are not however connected. “The additional individuals square measure on the net, the additional possible they’re to get on Facebook,” Akhtar told North American country. “The one huge plus social media corporations have is their audience. If their audience is not growing, they do not have a business case.”

‘Life-Changing Opportunities’

The Aquila project is an element of Facebook’s property research lab, a program the corporate established to develop new technologies similar to craft, satellites, and wireless communications systems, to assist bring web access to elements of the globe that lack property.

“Internet access can give life-changing opportunities and experiences to all or any folks, however there square measure still four billion individuals while not it,” Jay Parikh, Facebook’s world head of engineering and infrastructure Relevant Products/Services wrote yesterday in a very web log post regarding the flight. “That’s sixty % of the worldwide population. As several as one.6 billion of these unconnected individuals board remote locations with no access to mobile broadband networks, wherever implementing existing network technologies is thus difficult and expensive that it’ll take years to bring everybody reasonable access.”

Once deployed, the drones can use free house lasers for communication between craft within the fleet, also as e-band technology to beam property from the aeroplane to receivers on the bottom. whereas free house optical device technology has long offered vital promise for high-speed communications, the engineering challenges inherent in maintaining a gentle lightweight signal at long-distances and thru variable region conditions has prevented its readying.

But that appears to be an obstacle the corporate has already overcome. Earlier on, scientists performing at the property research lab revealed a paper on a replacement technique to power free house optical device communications at distances of over ten miles at speeds of up to a hundred Gbps.