Facebook has always iterated that they want to connect the unplugged members of our society to the internet who in fact are estimated to be more than the current “connected ones” (4 billion vs 3 billion). One of the ways to do that is by using drones that provide internet access to these populations by flying over their locations.
One of the drones that Facebook was planning to use in their quest to achieve this was named Aquila. Mark Zuckerberg actually revealed this drone to the world in the F8 conference that was held in April. Well today, Zuckerberg announced that the drone finally made a successful flight and it is rather cool!
“After two years of engineering, I’m proud to announce the successful first flight of Aquila- the solar powered plane we designed to beam internet to remote parts of the world,” Mark Zuckerberg proudly announced in the post. In the video, you can see the preparations towards its maiden flight and Mark was present in its launch.
According to Facebook, they were able to fly Aquila for more than 90 minutes which apparently was three times longer than they planned. They have been flying a scale version for months before but this time round, they flew the actual aircraft. There will be future tests where Facebook hops to reach above their targeted altitude of over 60,000 feet.
This is a significant step for Facebook as they are on course to accomplish their goal of connecting the unplugged populations to the internet.