Facebook built a giant drone to deliver Internet to the world

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Ready To Test Giant Drone For Beaming Internet Via Lasers.

Facebook’s Internet drone is designed to fly at high altitudes for up to three months, it will use lasers to send Internet signals to stations on the ground. (Source: Reuters) Facebook says it will begin test flights later this year for a solar-powered drone with a wingspan as big as a Boeing 737, in the next stage of its campaign to deliver Internet connectivity to remote parts of the world.Yael Maguire, the engineering director of the project, said the Aquila team had achieved a significant milestone with laser communications for high-speed data connections that are faster than most current speeds.Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has announced the social network has completed the construction of its first drone that will beam internet signal down to the Earth’s surface.

Using the solar-powered drone could mean “quickly bringing connectivity to an area that needs it”, he said at Facebook’s California headquarters. Facebook vice-president of global engineering and infrastructure Jay Parikh said the goal was to accelerate the development of technologies that could “drastically” change the economics of internet infrastructure. “We are exploring a number of different approaches to this challenge, including aircraft, satellites and terrestrial solutions,” he posted on his blog. Though Facebook is better known for online software that lets people share news with friends, watch viral videos and view commercial advertising engineers in a unit called the Connectivity Lab are working on a different set of problems. But he said this would not lead to Facebook becoming an internet operator or carrier. “Our goal is to provide the technology to other partners,” he said. “A full-scale version of Aquila — the high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft designed by our aerospace team in the UK — is now complete and ready for flight testing.” A video posted by Facebook co-founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg about Aquila had received more than three-quarters of a million views by early yesterday. In his post with the video, Zuckerberg said: “I’m excited to announce we’ve completed construction of our first full scale aircraft, Aquila, as part of our Internet.org effort. “This effort is important because 10% of the world’s population lives in areas without existing internet infrastructure.

To affordably connect everyone, we need to build completely new technologies. “Using aircraft to connect communities using lasers might seem like science fiction. Facebook also has a separate but related initiative that works with wireless carriers to provide limited mobile Internet service at no cost, in countries where residents are too poor to afford traditional wireless plans. But the company invited reporters Thursday to hear an update on its effort to provide service to about 10 percent of the world’s population who live in regions where it’s not practical or too expensive to build the usual infrastructure for Internet service. Facebook’s drone was developed in part with engineering expertise that joined the company when it acquired a British aerospace startup, Ascenta, last year. They have lab-tested a laser that can deliver data at tens of gigabits per second, which is 10 times faster than the current state-of-the-art lasers in the industry.

Using a variety of data sources, Facebook can figure out where people are located physically, in order to then decide the most cost-effective way to bring them connectivity. While Facebook has built and tested smaller prototypes at a plant in the United Kingdom, it’s looking at a site in the United States for testing the full-sized drone, said Parikh, who declined to be more specific.

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