Aquila- the Facebook Internet Drone In Air
On June 28th, 2016, Facebook has launched the first internet drone into test mode in Yuma, Arizona. The drone named Aquila is larger in size than Boeing 737, but is much lighter (about 900 pounds) due to its carbon-fiber structure. It is unmanned of course, very energy efficient, filled with batteries, containing lasers that are able to pin-point an area as small as a dime from at least ten miles in distance.
The drone’s purpose is to supply areas of the world with internet service with the minimal amount of cost and better communication. It should be able to fly for ninety days and cover an area of up to sixty miles. By using laser communications, Aquila is able to communicate and provide internet service to people above sixty thousand feet in air. Because the drone is solar powered, it is able to fly both day and night.
Facebook plans to continue to improve Aquila to its full potential in the near future, hoping to let it fly faster and higher than before. The currently performed test flight had Aquila up in the air for ninety minutes which was a few times longer than it was expected. All of this shows that the goal of getting the drone to fly for a period of three months most likely won’t take a long time to reach, but does require much more engineering and technological advancement. The record for a similar aircraft in air is two weeks and was performed by a plane from a defense technology company called Qinetiq’s Zephyr, based in the UK.
The long term goals for Aquila is to provide better internet service to people everywhere around the globe. Mark Zuckerberg, owner of Facebook, hopes that it will help many people out of poverty, promote education, and improve their lives as well as their health.