Facebook’s solar-powered drone, Aquila, built to bring internet connectivity to the masses has just successfully completed its first test flight.
With 60% of the global population still without internet connectivity, Facebook just hit a major milestone in their commitment to internet.org.
Facebook’s Aquila is a solar-powered airplane that can be used to bring affordable internet to hundreds of millions of people in the hardest-to-reach places.
Its energy-efficient credential makes it very appealing and aligns completely with Facebook’s charitable cause. Aquila’s wingspan is huge, similar in size to that of an airliner, and at cruising speed, it will consume only 5,000 watts which Facebook compares to the amount consumed by a high-end microwave.
Aquila, Facebook’s lightweight, high-altitude aircraft drone, flew for just over 90 minutes in Yuma, Arizona, more than initially hoped for – it was airborne for three times more than originally planned.
Facebook is not the only tech company trying to provide internet connectivity to places less privileged, tech giant Google has also invested a lot using hot air balloons.
The tech and social media giant hope to have more of these drones in the air flying for at least three months at a time while working together, to deliver internet access to every corner of the planet.
When complete, Aquila will be able to circle a region up to 60 miles in diameter, beaming connectivity down from an altitude of more than 60,000 feet using laser communications and millimeter wave systems.
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