Last year Facebook dissolved plans to develop a solar-powered drone for Internet signals. However, the company doesn’t seem to be done with the concept yet. Reviving plans, the social media giant this time is testing drones in Australia. It is doing so in collaboration with aeronautics giant Airbus.
A document from Australia’s Freedom of Information Act reveals the details of the collaboration. As per the document, last year Facebook and Airbus had already discussed about collaborating on test flights. As per the document, Facebook and Airbus will carry out the test flight in November and December 2018. It is unclear so far if it was carried out or not.
Speculation Persists if Facebook, Airbus Collaborated Earlier
Earlier, the two companies collaborated for communication systems for satellite drones. However, it remains unclear if the trials actually took place. The trial involved Airbus’ Zephyr drone, if at all it happened. Airbus’ Zephyr has the design for humanitarian, defense, and environmental pursuits.
Airbus’ Zephyr is akin to the now deceased Facebook’s Aquilla drone blueprint. Functionality-wise, Zephyr is a High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS). It uses solar energy and can fly for months.
The model chosen by Facebook is an S version which sports a 25-meter wingspan. The drone can fly up to an altitude of 20 km. It also employs millimeter-wave radio to disseminate information.
Zephyr’s model S version used for the collaboration is designed to test Facebook’s social network payload. Howbeit, the document does not shed light on the details of planning and meetings between the two before the tests.
Meanwhile, a Facebook spokesperson said that the company continues to work with partners for High Altitude Platform System connectivity.