Facebook grounds internet drones before takeoff

12:49 PM | 27 Jun, 2018
Facebook grounds internet drones before takeoff
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MENLO PARK – Social media giant Facebook has ditched plans to build its own internet drones for delivering internet, an initiative within its Aquila project that was started four years ago.

The setback closed a facility in England and let go of 16 employees involved with the project, a company engineer revealed on Tuesday.

The Boeing 747-sized drones were set to provide wireless internet connectivity to developing countries.

Part of the four-year-old Aquila project, the HAPS (High Altitude Platform Stations) drones are leaving the limelight so Facebook can focus on the underlying technologies instead.

The Aquila project conducted two public, high-profile test flights of a prototype drone, the first of which is 2016 resulted in serious damage to the aircraft during its landing.

Facebook Engineering director Yael Maguire said, “We’ve decided now is the right moment to focus on the next set of engineering and regulatory challenges for HAPS connectivity. This means we will no longer design and build our own aircraft, and, as a result, we’ve closed our facility in Bridgewater.”

The Aquila project imagined gigantic drones that run partially on solar power. These drones can stay in the fight for a long time and beam LTE connectivity to the remotest regions of the world.