If you see a large flying object in your area in the coming months, don’t worry, it is probably just Facebook’s First flying drone, Aquila, providing free internet in your place.
Facebook, one of the largest social network sites in the world, has designed a solar-powered plane that can fly in high altitude in a span of 14 months, and tests will be conducted later this year for the drone.
Aquila is a massive unmanned plane that has a wing span of around a hundred feet, similar to that of a Boeing 737, but it is lightweight like from an electric car. The drone can fly up to three months without even landing and it can transmit data to an aircraft with its laser guided system that can transmit up to 10 gigabytes per second. Build with cured carbon fiber, Aquila will have a communication payload that will have the ability to produce a 50-kilometer radius output signal, where once any nearby transmission towers receive the signal, it can turn it into WiFi or LTE for people to use as an internet connection.
The Aquila project is one of Internet.org?s plan to provide web access to 2.8 billion people around the world. Internet.org is Facebook?s project where they aim to provide free internet access, as according to a report from the United Nations? International Communication Union, 43.4% of the world?s population still does not have internet access.
During the day, the Aquila will fly at around 60,000 to 90,000 feet; above commercial planes and weather patterns and at the same time, to charge its batteries with solar power. Then at night, it will fly lower to conserve energy.
Facebook is still conducting tests for Aquila, as their main concern is if the drone has enough power to generate and keep it flying while still powering the rest of its system, also regularity issues are their biggest challenge so far, such as getting approval from other countries to fly in their air space will take some time.
But this will be a long way, but soon Facebook will be able to accomplish its mission of connecting the world through the internet.