Facebook ready to spread Internet drone’s giant wings

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Taking Open-Source Software Ethos to Drones.

Facebook is developing advanced telecommunications, complete with autonomous laser-firing drones, and it is doing it as if it were a big software project.CALIFORNIA: Facebook Inc announced on it has completed building its first full-scale drone, which has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 and will provide Internet access to the most remote parts of the world.The Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm said Thursday that its Connectivity Lab has completed work on an unmanned aircraft it calls Aquila with the ability to send Internet signals from the sky to users below. That may be a more daring idea than solar-powered planes that fly for three months at a time, which the company detailed on Thursday at a news conference at its Silicon Valley headquarters.

Unlike traditional aerospace or telecommunications projects, Facebook plans to make public large amounts of what it learns, executives there say, similar to the way people share software code in open-source projects. The Aquila places Facebook one step closer to achieving this goal by using new laser technology that can deliver Internet access 10 times faster than any previous device, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. That is how the Linux operating system, which now powers more of the world’s computers than any competitor, became so widely used. “Getting people to adopt the Internet faster is our end goal,” said Jay Parikh, vice president for connectivity at Facebook. “If this gets used by car companies, and that comes back and helps us with batteries for drones, great.” To build out the drones, called Aquila, Facebook hired people with expertise in areas like solar power and battery materials as well as space laser scientists, and aviation engineers. Zuckerberg said these new technologies will continue to be tested during the next few months, and the objective is to eventually provide underserved areas with a network of drones, each one providing Internet access within a 31-mile radius. A Facebook spokeswoman said the company is discussing regulations with local governments where the drones would be flying, but she said she couldn’t comment on specifics yet.

In order for this to work, the firm said, a ground station will transmit radio signals to the aircraft and then the signals will be relayed to users on the ground. Facbook was able to increase that to a 10 gigabit transmission thanks, in part, to working with people who put information on the light inside fiber optic lines. One method they used, according to Yael Maguire, head of Facebook’s Connectivity Lab, was to figure out how to detect information through different wavelengths, somewhat the way fiber optic data moves on different colors of the spectrum. The drones are part of a programme called Aquila, which is geared towards the 10% of the population that does not have any Internet access, executives said.

Its goals are “primarily focused on regions where there just isn’t Internet connectivity, and that’s why we’re really invested in solar-powered aircraft and lasers as a mechanism to do that.” Google’s Project Loon has a similar ambition, but it instead uses balloons that float in the stratosphere to form a communication network. In addition, the team has been able to use skills, including Facebook’s expertise in analyzing things like family snapshots, for tasks like examining satellite images of villages to accurately judge populations and economic activity. Although Facebook does not immediately face policy or legal hurdles in testing its drone in the United States, Maguire said, it is the first company to fly at such altitudes. Since the aircraft are communicating with one another via laser, there is a possibility that the drone system could also find and send real-time data about the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Potential issues for the Aquila could arise from unexpected maintenance requirements or disruption from solar flares, but there should be minimal concern regarding solar power or Internet connectivity, according to Snow.

Facebook will clearly benefit from more Internet users in the long run, but Zuckerberg said that this initiative isn’t driven by profits and that the focus is providing economic and social benefits to developing nations. In fact, much of the thinking behind opening up the connectivity discoveries was informed by Facebook’s Open Compute initiative, an open-source approach to building huge data centers. Facebook says it has contacted a number of companies involved in both aerospace and telecommunications equipment, though it won’t say which ones, or whether other companies will commit to the project.

Here you can write a commentary on the recording "Facebook ready to spread Internet drone’s giant wings".

* Required fields
Twitter-news
Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

dima911@gmail.com

ICQ: 423360519

About this site