Google had us amazed with its Loon project wherein a large balloon beamed Internet to the surrounding periphery. It now seems to be the turn of Facebook who have been working towards providing affordable Internet to the people who till now didn’t get a chance to get a fair access to Internet. The stats claim that there still exists a staggering 4 billion people who are deprived of Internet since they live in remote locations without mobile networks.


Facebook has decided to offer a kind of turnkey solutions to the remote area in question and this solution will also include an unmanned solar powered Aircraft alongside the usual bevy of communication equipment. Facebook had deployed a team of two dozen people to work on the drone dubbed “Aquila” The test run mapped areas of Southern California and the United Kingdom.

Aquila is a solar powered aircraft that will be capable of circling a diameter of 60-miles and beaming connectivity by flying at an altitude of 60,000-90,000 and feet by making use of laser communications and millimeter wave systems. The Aquila’s forte is its ability to fly for three months, thanks to the propeller system that will consume only 5000-watts despite the fact that it comes equipped with an airliner like wing.

Until now Facebook was testing out the scale model of the Aquila which is one-fifth of the original model. The prototype has already been subjected to gruesome testing conditions and the team says that it has been a successful endeavour. However, the first flight we talked about earlier involved the full-size aircraft along with the devised payload. Aquila is still several tests away from being capable of flying to a remote region and providing connectivity for three months at a stretch if Facebook is able to do so successfully they will also be breaking the world record of two weeks for solar-powered unmanned flight.

In all likelihood, Aquila might face the wrath of Regulatory authorities and it would take some time to sort this thing out. That being said the Drone will still be flying above the regulated airspace. Facebook has refrained from telling so as to when the Aquila drones will actually start functioning and delivering the Internet to the unconnected areas.

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Senior Author

Mahit Huilgol is a Mechanical Engineering graduate and is a Technology and Automobile aficionado. He ditched the Corporate boardroom wars in the favor for technology battle ground. Also a foodie by heart and loves both the edible chips and the non-edible silicon chips.


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