Drones have been gaining a lot of attention over the past couple of years and with good reason. Their applications are numerous, including mapping, surveying, and even delivering online orders at your doorstep. Every major company is trying its hand at this piece of technology, which has massive potential. Projects like Prime Air by Amazon and Loon by Alphabet are pathbreaking initiatives. Aquila is one such project started by Facebook, which aims to bring every nook and cranny of the world online.
First of all, let us take a look at the technology behind this massively powerful drone. Aquila is a solar-powered drone that functions as an atmospheric satellite. The industry refers to these kinds of satellites as High Altitude Performing Satellites (HAPS). Primarily, it acts as a relay station and delivers internet access to areas that are hard to reach. A relay station is a transmitter that enhances and allows signals to reach areas that are not within the scope of the station from which it originates. These satellites fly at altitudes between 60,000 and 90,000 feet. These are higher altitudes than the altitudes at which commercial airplanes fly and well outside the reach of weather affecting it adversely. These are critical factors in ensuring that the drone lasts for a much longer period.
Since June 2018, Facebook has started to rely on manufacturing experts in HAPS technology to deliver drones and has abandoned the internal production of HAPS drones.
Let us now take a look at the impact of this undertaking by Facebook.
Since 2013, Facebook has embarked on a journey to get as many people online as possible. Facebook, in collaboration with six other companies, started Internet.org as a part of this mission, and drones are the most viable means to achieve this objective. By making deals with several carriers in several countries, this technology can deliver internet connectivity in remote areas at affordable prices. As more people come online, they become aware of the number of benefits that come with it. Let us now take a look at some of the benefits that Aquila brings to the regions it impacts.
Firstly, education is one of the most significant benefits. With free online courses soaring in popularity, people can educate themselves right in the comfort of their homes. Secondly, people can keep themselves informed of events unfolding in their country and voice their opinions. Thirdly, with e-commerce gaining a lot of traction, many businesses will find it easier to expand their trade to new heights.
Finally, we come to the field that Facebook operates in, which is Social Media. People will find it easier to connect with their relatives and friends living in different parts of the world. Although phone calls exist and people use them to achieve this, staying connected with loved ones is cheaper and more interactive when done over internet services like WhatsApp, Skype, and Zoom. The initial learning curve will be steep. People who don’t have a clue about the benefits of the internet will undoubtedly take time to get accustomed to it. Companies and the government will have to partner and come up with unique ways to educate the populace.
A more massive crowd on the internet will ensure that local and non-local businesses in the country get an opportunity to thrive. It will, in turn, allow them to employ more people. In a nutshell, the economic consequences of the Facebook drone named Aquila are numerous for everyone involved. From individuals to businesses and even the government, everyone will benefit from it in some way or the other.
As mentioned in the article, every company wants a portion of the drone technology space, whose applications are growing by the day. The solar-powered drone called Aquila by Facebook is one such product whose vision is to onboard people onto the internet, even in remote regions. The implications of this vision are massive. From education and health awareness to economic prosperity, the advantages are numerous, and the article covers them. For a detailed explanation about drones, read this article: Top Drones – Buying Guide.
In conclusion, there are substantial investments in drone technology and massive improvements in the High Altitude Performing Satellite (HAPS) technology. How well this technology scales up to bring the entire world online remains to be seen.