Facebook has built the first full-scale version of its connectivity drone today, a V-shaped high-altitude device meant to connect people in underserved areas. Its eventual fleet of drones will be part of the company’s plan to bring Internet service to billions of people around the world.
Known as Aquila, which was an eagle that carried Zeus’s thunderbolts in Greek mythology, the new drone is ready for its first real-world tests, Facebook said.
“If you think of your little quadcopters, this is not what we’re building,” said Facebook vice president of engineering Jay Parikh. “Aquila [has a] wingspan that’s equivalent to a Boeing 737.”
For a year, Facebook has been promoting its connectivity project, Internet.org, and its app of the same name. The company has been teaming with mobile carriers in underserved countries around the world to bring free Internet service to millions of people.