“To affordably connect everyone, we need to build completely new technologies”, Zuckerberg informed. The drones which are a part of a program called Aquila uses laser technology to deliver internet connectivity to remote areas of the world from the sky. “But science fiction is often just science before its time”, Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.
Lasers, solar, and drones, oh my! The drone was designed out of a carbon-fiber frame by an aerospace team in the UK. According to him, the goal is for Facebook to set up the aerial infrastructure of the Internet, and then allow major carriers distribute and operate the web in a similar manner to how they do so on Earth.
Aside from the Aquila project, Facebook is also exploring opportunities through satellites and terrestrial solutions, which it hopes to develop to the point where they become viable for service providers and mobile operators to use economically.
The plan with the Aquila drones is to work with carriers so that they can use these drones to sell and provide internet conectivity to those remote areas that now have no ISP available.
Our laser communications team in Woodland Hills, California, has achieved a significant performance breakthrough.
“We are now starting to test these lasers in real-world conditions”, said Parikh. “Our mission in the company is to connect everybody in the world”, Jay Parikh, vice president of global engineering and infrastructure, said in a media briefing today (July 30).
However, Facebook doesn’t want to be in charge of these budding technologies and hopes to advance them enough for others to take charge. Speeds will be slower during rainy or overcast days, but because the Aquila planes communicate with one another via lasers as well, Facebook will be able to provide a blanket of coverage from above.
Zuckerberg said that the laser mounted to the drone can transmit data at 10 gigabits per second, ten times faster than any previous system Facebook has tested.
The video shows how Facebook has brought together scientists from all walks of like to build the 42 metre wingspan drones.
The Facebook’s Aquila initiative is aimed at those people who live in remote locations and have no Internet access. Microsoft is also financing a project that envisages transmitting internet signals over unused television airwaves.