Facebook has already begun flying its giant drones designed to bring internet access to the world, Mark Zuckerberg has revealed.
‘As part of our effort to connect the world, we’ve designed unmanned aircraft that can beam internet access down to people from the sky,’ he posted on his Facebook page.
‘Today, I’m excited to share that we’ve successfully completed our first test flight of these aircraft in the UK.’
Today, around 2.7 billion people have access to the internet, which is just one third of the global population.
The members of the initiative said in a report that connecting the world is ‘one of the fundamental challenges of our time’ and they plan to do it using a variety of technologies, including drones.
‘The final design will have a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737 (pictured) but will weigh less than a car,’ said Zuckerberg.
‘When people have access to the internet, they can not only connect with their friends, family and communities, but they can also gain access to the tools and information to help find jobs, start businesses, access healthcare, education and financial services and have a greater say in their societies.
‘They get to participate in the knowledge economy,’ the report said.
A recent study by Deloitte found that the internet is already an important driver of economic growth in many developing countries.
Expanding internet access could create another 140 million new jobs, lift 160 million people out of poverty and reduce child mortality by hundreds of thousands of lives.
In terms of how this could be achieved, Mr Maquire has previously explained that Facebook is ‘looking at a new type of plane architecture.’
The drones are set to fly at 65,000ft (19,800 metres), because this altitude is a point where winds are at their lowest.
It’s also above commercial airliners, and even above the weather, and this means the drones will be able to safely stay in the air for months at a time.
‘These planes are solar-powered and they sit there and circle around, and have the ability to broadcast internet down.’
The large drones will be capable of broadcasting a powerful signal that covers a city-sized area of territory with a medium population density, according to Internet.org.
The large drones will be capable of broadcasting a powerful sThe drones will be tougher and able to fly for longer periods of time than balloons, while also being able to have their location precisely controlled.
In March this year, Facebook acquired British drone maker Ascenta for an estimated £12.5 million ($20.2 million).
The company is run by chief engineer Andrew Cox who has helped set records for the longest flights for unmanned aircraft powered by the sun.
Source: Daily Mail
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