Facebook’s internet beaming drone just completed its first test flight
Facebook has completed a test flight of its Aquila drone – a solar powered plane capable of beaming internet to remote areas.
Built with a carbon fibre frame and solar panel-coated wings, Aquila can stay airborne for months and was first shown off last year.
Facebook says the drone “has the wingspan of an airliner but weighs less than a small car and flies on roughly the power of three blow dryers”.
The idea is to keep the plane aloft for 90 days at a time, beaming internet to people in regions that would otherwise not have access.
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The test itself was conducted on June 28 and allowed the team to try an unconventional takeoff method using a dolly to propel Aquila down the runway to takeoff speed.
It’s all part of Facebook’s Internet.org campaign, which aims to bring internet to a billion users who would otherwise be without it.
It’s unlikely the project will get going in any real capacity for a few years yet, but this latest test, which went well for Facebook, shows the firm is still wholly committed to its cause.
Google is also working on a similar project using drones and air balloons, so it will be interesting to see which company manages to get these things working in a real sense first.
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Let us know what you think of Facebook’s efforts in the comments.