Check out Aquila, Facebook's giant internet drone

It took 14 months to build the drone

Just a day after revealing stonking growth results, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg announced the completion of Aquila, a drone that can provide interest access to remote parts of the world.

Set to be tested in the US by the end of the year, the plane weighs an astonishing 880lbs (400kg) and can operate between 60,000ft (18km) and 90,000ft (27km).

It took 14 months to build the drone and, according to Facebook, it can fly in the air for 90 days at a stretch.

Here’s what Mark Zuckerberg said:

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

“I’m excited to announce we’ve completed construction of our first full scale aircraft, Aquila, as part of our Internet.org effort.

“Aquila is a solar powered unmanned plane that beams down internet connectivity from the sky. It has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but weighs less than a car and can stay in the air for months at a time.

“We’ve also made a breakthrough in laser communications technology. We’ve successfully tested a new laser that can transmit data at 10 gigabits per second. That’s ten times faster than any previous system, and it can accurately connect with a point the size of a dime from more than 10 miles away.

“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. But science fiction is often just science before its time. Over the coming months, we will test these systems in the real world and continue refining them so we can turn their promise into reality.”

 

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Readers' comments (4)

  • Anonymous

    Balloons might be cheaper.

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  • Balloons might be cheaper but they are at the mercy of the wind unless tethered.

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  • Actually you could combine energy generation and internet access with one tethered device - so might not be a bad idea!

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