Facebook abandons drone that would distribute internet
For some years, Facebook has been developing the Aquila project, which is the construction of solar-powered drones in order to provide internet for some parts of the world. However, the company of Mark Zuckerberg decided to abandon part of this initiative.
According to Business Insider, Facebook’s engineering director Yael Maguire revealed that the company will focus on the “underlying technologies” behind Aquila rather than designing its own aircraft. For this reason, the company eventually laid off 16 employees who were involved in the project.
In a post Maguire said the company decided “that now is the right time to focus on the next set of engineering and regulatory challenges for HAPS connectivity.”
“That means we will no longer design and build our own aircraft and as a result we close our facilities in Bridgewater.”
Facebook, now, must continue with the Aquila project through partnerships with other companies, such as Airbus, without having to be directly involved in drone construction.
In the same post, Maguire says engineering initiatives will focus on improving the connectivity equipment that would be coupled to the aircraft as well as components such as “flight control computers and high-density batteries.”
In addition, the executive said he is dedicated to policy initiatives such as “a proposal for the 2019 World Radio Conference to get broader spectrum for HAPS” and is seeking regulatory approval.
However, despite having faced a lot of instability, the Aquila project was able to set milimetric network technology usage records and also conduct two successful large-scale test flights.