According to Internet Live Stats, there are around 3.2 billion Internet users out of the current world population of 7.3 billion. This means that there is a huge unplugged market that is yet to be connected to the internet which is in fact bigger than the current connected population. These “unplugged” population have several challenges like poor terrestrial infrastructure or no data plans. This has led tech companies like Facebook and Google to come up with radical methods to connect this people and a popular choice is using high altitude drones.
Google is reported to have filed paperwork with the Federal Aviation Administration that is beingreported by Recode as a drone project. Initially, it was reported they were a part of Google’s Project Wing which was to use them as delivery drones. However, unlike Facebook’s rumoured drones, these drones allegedly are affiliated with Project Titan which involves providing internet access and collecting data. It is however not sure if they will use only for research purposes or to connect unplugged communities like the Facebook initiative.
Google already has Project Loon, which is an initiative by the company to provide internet access to everyone via high altitude balloons. They were even reported to sign up Sri Lanka after a pilot that took place in New Zealand two years ago. The new drones could be used to support this initiative or for the sake of duplication of resources, they may only be used by researchers to acquire data from large portions of the Earth surface.
Major tech companies have invested substantial resources into drones and this has led to some advancements like the formulation of plans to build the first drone airport in Rwanda. The importance of drones in our daily lives will become more significant in the near connected future.