One of Facebook’s most ambitious projects in the search for universal internet access has just been canceled. This is Aquila (from the Latin “Aguila”), the initiative of solar drones that were to provide connectivity to remote areas, which will no longer be manufactured by the engineers of the social network.
“It has been exciting to see leading aerospace companies start investing in this technology as well, including the design and construction of new high-altitude aircraft,” wrote Yael Maguire, Director of Engineering of the social network, in a publication of the Facebook blog.
Aquila was a drone powered by solar energy that could be used to take the Internet to remote places on the planet.
“Given these developments, we have decided not to design or build our own aircraft any longer and close our facilities in Bridgwater,” Maguire added.
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Instead, Facebook revealed that his idea, now, is to partner with leading firms in the sector, such as the French Airbus, to continue their efforts to connect more people to the network of networks.
Facebook executive director, Mark Zuckerberg, observing Aquila’s test flight, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VANT) designed by his company, in Yuma, Arizona, United States (Photo: EFE)
This concept of drone, which bore a certain similarity with a Boeing 757 and weighed the same as a family car, was equipped with a technology that could keep it suspended in the air for up to three months thanks to the solar energy it collected during the day.
In June 2016, a “structural failure” caused his first test flight to end with a forced landing that caused him to lose one of his wings, although Facebook considered the flight a success. A year later, Aquila completed her second flight.
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The solar-powered drones intended to fly continuously for months in 5-kilometer circles and 60,000 feet off the ground, while they were going to transmit satellite internet within a 48-km radius.