Facebook's Solar-Drone Provides Internet With Lasers: This Is Project Aquila!

in #life5 years ago (edited)

Facebook has developed a large solar-powered drone which will eventually "beam internet to remote parts of the world"!

It's called Project Aquila and ultimately, there will be a fleet of unmanned drones staying in flight for "months at a time".
The project aims to improve the world's access to internet, especially in remote areas.

"For Facebook, Aquila is more than a proof of concept. It’s a linchpin of the company’s plan to bring the internet to all 7 billion people on Earth, regardless of their income or where they live. Doing so will lift millions of people out of poverty, Zuckerberg says, improving education and health globally along the way. But it will also enable the next generation of Facebook’s services in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and more. This next era of tech will require higher bandwidth and more reliable connections than we have today, and drones can help deliver both. The road to a VR version of Facebook begins where Aquila leaves the runway."

-The Verge

What is project Aquila about?

The main purpose of project Aquila is to provide internet access to remote areas.
The drone will be flying 60,000-90,000 feet in the air, and provide internet access below using laser technology.
There will be several drones that keep in contact so that there is widespread internet coverage below.

“When Aquila is ready, it will be a fleet of solar-powered planes that will beam internet connectivity across the world. Today, more than half the world’s population — 4 billion people — still can’t access the internet. One day, Aquila will help change that.”

-Mark Zuckerberg



The drone has a wingspan comparable to a Boeing 767, but it's made from carbon fibers which are extremely lightweight - this makes the total weight even less than a smart car.
The limited weight is important because the drone is supposed to be in the air for up to 3 months at a time, only using solar power.
During the day, the solar panels collect the sunlight and store it for the evening hours.
The aircraft will move with the relatively slow speed of 129 km/h due to efficiency reasons, and its cruising altitude will be around 18,000 meters.


Test flights

The project had been announced in 2015, but Aquila only completed 2 test flights until now.
The first one resulted in a structural failure - but the 2nd test flight was a success!
It occured at the end of may, with a total flight time of 1 hour and 46 minutes and an altitude of over 3,000 feet.
The drone climbed 2 times as fast as on the first test flight - 180 feet/minute.


There are still several challenges to overcome until the Aquila drones will actually stay aloft for 90 days.
For example, the solar panels - during the test flights, the prototype aircrafts were only using batteries.
The manufacturers are also still working on building batteries that could sustain missions as long as 3 months.
Cost is another main factor: if Facebook really wants to deploy a whole fleet of these drones, the overall cost would have to be reduced greatly.

“We need to develop more efficient on-board power and communication systems; ensure the aircraft are resilient to structural damage to reduce maintenance costs and able to stay aloft for long periods of time to keep fleet numbers low; and minimize the amount of human supervision associated with their operation"

-Andy Cox, mechanical engineer


What's your opinion about Project Aquila - futuristic innovation or unrealistic and risky?

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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This is reminiscent of the midway between Houston and the first modules of the international space station when they did not yet have satellites to maintain that communication link all the time. Upvote my friend
@sirwinchester o/

..and follow me to know about Brasil >> @renantg

interesting, you're right! Thanks for your comment!

Wow this is amazing I can't believe some of the big things Facebook is getting into! Although there are still challenges with the batteries, I'm sure it's only a matter of time until they work out the kinks :) This is huge, as--in my opinion--it's extremely important to provide internet wherever possible, esp. in remote areas. Access to the internet's unlimited information should be a privilege for EVERYONE in this day and age!

Facebook doing great job but not without a purpose to bring them even more cash. Once Africa reaches the foreign markets through the internet there will be a flood of advertising and guess who's gonna earn the most? Thanks for sharing @sirwinchester

Yeah, this is a double edged sword. On one hand, bringing internet to the remainder of the non-connected world is a good thing - on the other hand, Facebook is doing this purely for their own profits, no matter what kind of philanthropic cult mindset Zuckerburg has instilled over there.

I appreciate what Facebook has to offer, but keep it at arm's length. It is like a friend who is fun to hang out with at parties, but who annoys you when you start seeing them every day.

Exactly. Well said.

Good point, sadly you are right... thanks for your comment!

A cheaper alternative to launching satellites. Do I heard the words spy in the sky!

Amazing. Thanks for sharing project Aquila's info and the video.

I know similar story, spreding internet everywhere with baloons. Project name is Project Loon but can anyone see them? Maybe it is still under development staying optimistic. Lest see whats gonna happen.

Yes I've read about that too, thanks for sharing! Very interesting!

This project has been initiated by Google , and it is really impressive . I just love these new upcoming mind blowing projects . Many more are upcoming stay tuned .

WAO! This is one of few people who really purposed their wealth to improving humanity as a whole. I commend him hugely and wish we had more of people like this on planet earth.
Solar Internet Drone! That's TRIPLE COOL men! 😀

Very informative post, the applications of this technology could be really good for emergency access. Call the drone via satellite phone or something.

The laser net tech reminds me a bit of the Light internet tech (LI-FI)
which is also very promising and can offer speeds around 100times faster than WI-FI

Thanks for the great post @sirwinchester

Yes, I actually wrote a post about Li-Fi way in the past and I thought about the same thing!
Thanks for your comment!

Project Aquila's wingspand is greater then a commercial jets.

Awesome gif, I might add that to the post actually! Thanks for sharing!

Aquila providing internet access to remote areas of the world is FB way of getting more users on it's website of course as well. however it's good for steemit too. when the people in these remote places come appone Steemit, well watch out FB! FB may even try to buy out Steemit to keep it from surpassing it. We'll see.

Great project. I think internet access is a basic human right in this era @sirwinchester

Indeed a very cool project but it sounds like they have a number of challenges before it can be turned into reality.

Definitely. There's still a long way to go until this vision becomes a reality.

A very interesting post to follow ,, success continues for you.

This is a super cool project, the future is amazing and it is now. It will be nice when the planet has free internet. It's better for us all to have access

I think The Zuckerberg is either grasping at straws trying to find new people to join Facechat or he's noticed that Elon Musk gets huge gobs of money from the government for "public" works like this.

Facebook taking over the internet, hope this is not the real display of Valentine(kingsman movie).good move by mark.

That's what i call Technology !

Seems frightening that FaceBook will control the internet for remote areas of the world.

I wonder will this open up for better internet in the future with cheaper prices

My concern is who will be controlling these drones? I can imagine this drone technology meeting decentralized blockchain technology or even the technology behind IOTA, the cryptocurrency which will facilitate machine-to-machine transfers of value in the future internet of things. I love this innovation and I applaud the creative minds behind its inception. However, we just need to make sure that there is no central authority that could possibly with certain motives disable these drones far into a theoretical future in which the vast majority of the planet's population may be dependent on them for their access to the internet, which we all know is essentially modern man's life and blood. Maybe I'm just paranoid but drones are kinda freaky in that respect. Whose watching? Whose in control? I am always suspicious of people's motives, however tactfully cloaked in the facade of earnest altruism. If it's not decentralized forget it.

hmm... that sounds better than fiber connection to me.

buen post, saludos

new tech for facebook collaborated , awesome

I don't know if it is feasible or if it will happen, but it sure as hell sounds better than North Korea testing ICBM's and South Korea and the US testing missiles the next day.

As a renewable energist I find this so intresting

Great news! Thanks for sharing)

Great project that will of course help mainly on the education side, but still how many years it will take for the people in remote areas to grasp that and start using this tool?
I personally believe it is rather unrealistic and very risky project!

This is the kind of news I'm interested in reading on Steemit. Thanks.

wow...nice idea. drones seems to become more and more useful

Es una idea muy interesante, llevar Internet a mas lugares manteniendo al mundo comunicado. Facebook ya se ha convertido en algo mas que una simple red social

The potental for misuse is massive. If information is power and "power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" ~John Dalberg-Acton Censorship and sanitized details/news/propaganda will soon follow. Welcome to the NEW WORLD ORDER

You could be right, FB has a history of censoring political parties through the use of algorithms on it's site. It's not like we all haven't run across a paid shill/troll on FB either.

Great project! Was waiting a long time, how will Zuckerberg bring internet to Africa and this looks like a great solution. I am curious what will Google do...

Thank you for bringing this up! I had brought this all up in my Operation Upgrade Africa post here from 17 days ago! Im wondering if u saw it and if thats how u heard of this

we need tomake our OWN solar drones! facebook sucks and allows people in africa to have "free faceboook" but nothing lese its lame, like giving people ONE website to use? they should just pay for free banwidth, they are making pkenty of money

ANYWAY I was wondering, we could provide people in africa a TUNNELING service! we could even manually let peopel in africa post onto acebook an we could make a botthattakes their facebook post and reposts it onto their steemit for them! so it wouldnt have to use up their bandwitdh!!!

lets take advanatge of facebooks free bandwitdd this way!!!

i have a idea to package a cheap $40 smartphone, $30 1 month of prepaid mobile internet and a $10 solar usb battery charger and give all three as a package to por rural africans and allow them to use steemit for a month to make up the money, and pay back stemit the money which we canuse to buy ANOTHER package and give itto ANOTHER poor african, we can let them use that money to give to a family member, and they can teach them how to use steemit onvce @tj4real and @xpency teach a crw to go and teach rural africans how to use it all, its all very intuitive and we can get steemit to be the number one banking system for africa eventual;y!!!! and africa can be number one user base for steemit!!!

we ccan serioulsydo SO much good for steit and we can replicate this program in China and India and any developing nation to at least allow every child on earth to get a smartphonee with internet and the EDUCATION to go onsteemit and have someone show them how to use steemit to eearn just enough mony to pay for everything they really need! theyll beable to use steemit to even share their local clture too!!!!! its a win win

Amazing project, really usefull!

We need some steem drones out there

Someone tell Facebook Hughesnet already exist.

I checked your posts, and they are very informative :) If you can, also check mine ?

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