Aquila Facebook Drone |

The Aquila is part of and Facebook’s plan to extend Web access to 1.1 billion to 2.8 billion people. It has the wingspan of a 42 meter wingspan but weighs only as much as a car and will be able to fly for 90 days without landing. It will project a laser that can transmit data to other aircraft, and a signal that will be received by small towers and antennas on the ground within 50 kilometers. The antennas will then convert the signal into 4G or Wi-Fi networks. The drone will fly at 60,000 to 90,000 feet during the day, putting it above commercial airplanes and conventional weather patterns. At night, when its batteries aren’t being charged by the sun, Aquila will fly lower to save energy. Facebook can rotate its drones every three months with a near-instantaneous handoff. Facebook is currently testing its laser system in California. It said its prototype can deliver 10 gigabits of data a second, much faster than what’s considered state-of-the-art in the industry. The network of drones is being designed for rural areas, where the location and intensity of demand can suddenly change.

Aquila Drone Flying at Altitude
Aquila Drone Infographic

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