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Facebook scraps high-altitude drone project Aquila

2018-06-27 10:22 by
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Facebook has abandoned an ambitious plan to design and produce its own drones for delivering internet, an initiative within its Aquila project that was started four years ago. Facebook began its Aquila internet drone program in 2014, as part of its internet.org initiative.

"Aircraft like these will help connect the whole world because they can affordably serve the 10% of the world's population that live in remote communities without existing internet infrastructure," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post on the social network in 2015.

The Aquila project conducted two public, high-profile test flights of a prototype drone, the first of which in 2016 resulted in serious damage to the aircraft during its landing. Now, instead of building aircraft of its own, Facebook says it will focus on working with partners on high-altitude internet delivery systems and on policy matters related to securing spectrum and establishing federal rules around the operation of such systems.

"We've decided not to design or build our own aircraft any longer, and to close our facility in Bridgwater," Facebook said in a blog post. "Going forward, we'll continue to work with partners like Airbus on HAPS connectivity generally, and on the other technologies needed to make this system work, like flight control computers and high-density batteries."

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