Drone technology is coming to the fore, with possible solutions being developed within industries ranging from sports photography to agriculture and commercial delivery. With the likes of Amazon and Google already dipping their toes into drone potential, Facebook is the latest internet giant to make advances in what is a rapidly growing market. Unsurprisingly for a company ploughing sizeable profits into the latest technology, Facebook is taking unmanned aerial vehicles to the next level…
The plan is to provide internet access to huge, rural areas which currently don’t have the necessary infrastructure; just another step in Facebook’s plan to get the whole world connected. A network of drones will eventually use laser technology to beam data to base stations on the earth’s surface. Soaring at over 90,000 feet, the drones are expected to provide comprehensive internet coverage to huge areas currently unconnected.
Whispers of Project Aquila have been going round for a while, and last week Facebook revealed its first fully developed drone, ready for testing. Comparable in wingspan to a commercial Boeing 767, yet still weighing less than a car, Facebook suggests that their solar-powered Aquila drones will be able to fly for up to three months at a time. With the current record for constant unmanned flight around the two week mark, the flight time alone is certainly a huge step forward. Whilst this may create the impression of a dystopian future full of Facebook drones eerily patrolling the skies, the social media company insists that they want to work alongside governments and institutions, and are prioritising being “the catalyst for the technology moving faster”.
Facebook’s venture into the world of drone technology is bound to have ramifications across various industries. As well as the sheer level of connectivity their Aquila drones could bring to the developing world, their confidence in drones going forward is bound to encourage other businesses to consider how they too could join in the party.
Google is the most obvious competitor in the race for internet from the stratosphere. It’s been testing out its Solara drones, and despite crashing a prototype in the deserts of Albuquerque in May, seems a few steps ahead of Facebook at this moment in time. Whoever wins this 21st century internet-drone space race, it shouldn’t be too long before unmanned vehicles are cruising high above the clouds and bringing internet connectivity to people all over the world.
Here at Airnest we are currently working on a range of solutions to make flying your drone more straightforward. While we can’t promise to help you control your own solar powered internet-delivery drone just yet, our innovative software is making recreational drone flying accessible to all. You’ll certainly appreciate the extra control in a world soon to be filled with unmanned vehicles buzzing around delivering packages and industry solutions.