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Facebook Solar Powered Drones to Provide Worldwide Internet Access

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S50_Cumulus_1366Ever since Titan Aerospace introduced their design of a solar-powered drone that can fly in the sky for five years before it has to come back to earth, it has become a subject of a major interest to many corporate giants. Facebook seems to be one of them and they have quite a big plan for the invention.

Mark Zuckerberg, and team, are looking into buying the company, build thousands of drones, and use them to provide internet access to areas where there is currently none. The initiative is part of the Internet.org project and involves major leading tech companies including Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung and Opera among others.

The use of unmanned aerial drones has been one of the most widely discussed topics, especially after rumors started to spread that Amazon will be using such devices to deliver their orders super fast.  The discussions mainly went into the direction of security and safety, considering that the drones could interfere with the air traffic and could provide the ultimate spying tool. The issue went slightly off the radar for some time, but it seems not for too long. Now the big guys with lots of money are jumping in.

The drone in question is the Solara, a high-altitude aerial vehicle, which has a 60ft wingspan. It has 3,000 solar cells, enough to generate around seven kilowatts of power. During the day, some of the energy is used to power the drone, while the rest is stored in lithium-ion batteries and used during the night. It reaches a speed of up to 104 km/h and has a range of 4.5 million kilometers, making it suitable for almost any monitoring and surveillance purpose. But this is not why Facebook is interested in it.

The tech giant intends to spend $60 million in order to acquire Titan Aerospace, the company that produces the flying vehicles. Once this deal is finalized, the plan is to begin construction of 11,000 drones that will function as atmospheric satellites and deliver internet access to remote parts of the world. And before you think otherwise, let me tell you, the news is not a rumor. Mark Zuckerberg himself confirmed it at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona just a week ago.

Image (c) Titan Aerospace

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