FREMONT, CA: Facebook, in a quest to get more people connected to the internet, has planned to come up with a solar-powered drone with a wingspan almost as big as Boeing 737. The drone is said to be built with a 140-foot wingspan that weighs less than 1,000 pounds.
According to SFGATE website, the drone is designed to fly at high altitudes for up to three months and will use lasers to send Internet signals to stations on the ground. The solar- powered eliminates the need for carrying any fuel.
“We want to actually speed up Internet adoption and in order to speed that up we need to work on the infrastructure challenges we’re working on today,” says Jay Parikh, Vice President of Engineering, Facebook, as reported by SFGATE. “Our mission in the company is to connect everybody in the world.”
The drone effort is “not too dissimilar from what we did years ago when we were solving the data infrastructure problems we had,” adds Parikh. He informs that the plan calls for using helium balloons to lift each drone into the air. The drones are designed to climb to 90,000 feet, safely above commercial airliners and thunderstorms, where they will fly in circles through the day. At night, they will settle to about 60,000 feet to conserve battery power.
Each drone will fly in a circle with a radius of nearly 2 miles, which the engineers hope will enable it to provide Internet service to an area with a radius of about 30 miles.
For the arrangement to work, Facebook’s engineers are also counting on a recent breakthrough they made in laser optics, which, Yael Maguire, Director of the unit for drones, satellites and other high-tech communications projects, says would allow them to transmit data at up to 10 gigabits per second.