Facebook’s Giant Internet Drones Are Already Flying


Last year, we reported that Facebook was working on solar-powered drones that would delivery the internet to billions of people.

As the second day of its F8 conference began here at Fort Mason in San Francisco, Facebook announced the first hardware it plans to use to beam the Internet down to billions of people around the world.

Facebook has a codename for its drone: Aquila, which is also the name of the eagle in Greek mythology that carries Zeus’s thunderbolts for him.

Aquila can reportedly stay in the air for up to three months at a time, and beam high-speed internet from between 60,000 and 90,000 feet in the air. They’ll be lighter than a small car, but as long as a Boeing 737.

Facebook figures about 1,000 of these high fliers should suffice in blanketing the Earth with high-speed connectivity. They are also reportedly looking at potential satellite deployments if any regions prove too remote or inhospitable for the internet drones to handle.

The first flights will reportedly begin this summer, although “commercial deployment may take years,” the New York Times notes. Facebook executives are not sure how much the final version of Aquila will cost the company.

Aquila is the first complete concept we’ve seen come out of Facebook’s acqui-hires of engineers from UK-based Ascenta, unveiled nearly a year ago today.

Source: TechCrunch