Facebook has taken a significant step towards developing a drone designed to beam web access to remote regions of the world.
The firm has finished the second full-scale test flight of its enormous Aquila drone but managed to land it far more easily this time around.
The drone, which can be solar-powered and has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, flew at 3,000 feet for one hour and 46 minutes.
“We successfully gathered plenty of information to help us maximize Aquila’s efficiency,” said Mark Zuckerberg, announcing the test flight.
When Aquila is prepared, it is going to be a fleet of solar-powered planes that will beam internet connectivity around the world. Over half of-of the world’s population — 4 billion people can not access the net today.
Facebook finally wants the drone to fly at 60,000 feet and remain in the air for months at a time.
“By design, Aquila does nothing quickly: It climbs gradually, sloping even slower, and when flying upwind moves just at 10-15 mph over the ground.
Since it’s meant to stay to supply access, we designed Aquila this way. Aquila is solar-powered and incredibly power-efficient — running on the power equivalent of three blow dryers,” stated Martin Luis Gomez, Facebook’s director of aeronautical platforms.
Facebook to Begin hiding Junk public posts from news feeds Facebook has made some great changes to the drone because it crash-landed from the initial test flight, including the addition of new spoilers into the wings, the alteration of the autopilot software and the installation of a horizontal propeller brake mechanism to encourage a successful landing.
”And what’s particularly pleasing is that the improvements we implemented based on Aquila’s performance during its first test flight made a substantial gap in this flight.”