This year’s annual developer conference of Facebook, F8, has been different in many ways from the past years’ events. This year, Facebook not only announced some major changes to its social network, but confirmed that it wants a bigger share of your day-to-day life. Facebook announced that it is converting Messenger to a platform where devs can develop apps. It announced 360 degree-3D video support in newsfeed and a possible release of its Oculus Rift VR headset later this year.
Related to another crossover endeavor, Facebook spilled more beans about its plan to connect the internet-deprived 4 billion people of the world using drones. This is being done to support Facebook’s initiative Internet.org which is currently providing free data in India, Columbia, and four African countries.
During the annual F8 conference in San Francisco, company showed of pictures of a prototype solar drone to fulfill this internet aspiration.
Facebook’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer told that the final V-shaped design of Facebook’s internet drone will have a mass less than a small car but wingspan larger than a Boing 737. This drone is being called Aquila- the Greek mythological eagle who used to carry thunderbolts of Jupiter.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page that this internet drone has already completed the very first test flight in U.K.
As part of our Internet.org effort to connect the world, we’ve designed unmanned aircraft that can beam internet access down to people from the sky.
Today, I’m excited to share that we’ve successfully completed our first test flight of these aircraft in the UK.
The final design will have a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737 but will weigh less than a car. It will be powered by solar panels on its wings and it will be able to stay at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet for months at a time.
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.
As I described above, Facebook’s F8 developer conference offered a lot to developers but Mark Zuckerberg didn’t stop there. Facebook is exploring new horizons and internet drones are a flight in the same direction.