In a current notice on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, introduced the primary profitable flight of the Aquila drone, a big photo voltaic powered UAV that has been in growth for two years. The flight occurred in Yuma, Arizona. The long run aim of the UAV initiative is to supply web entry to areas of the world that at the moment wouldn’t have it. In his notice Zuckerberg states, “It’s all part of our mission to connect the world and help more of the 4 billion people who are not online access all the opportunities of the internet.”
This might be achieved by a drone fleet functioning as a community that relay information by way of lasers.
Facebook’s first take a look at flight, as reported by Bloomberg, didn’t finish properly. When it landed the drone suffered “substantial” injury in keeping with the NTSB which investigated the incident. investigation.; however this flight exceeded expectations. The flight plan known as for a 30 minute take a look at; however in keeping with Zuckerberg, the flight was progressing so properly, they prolonged it to 96 minutes.
The take a look at flight supplied engineers with information on a spread of the Aquila’s features together with autopilot, motors, batteries, radios, floor station, shows, fundamental aerodynamic dealing with, structural viability, and crew coaching.
Facebook engineers have recognized the next challenges going ahead:
Sufficient Solar Power — To achieve success the drone wants to gather sufficient power throughout daytime to fly for 24 hours. That power must be ample to energy the drone’s propulsion, payload, avionics, heaters, lights, communications, and different methods
Battery energy – Keeping the airplane aloft on a protracted winter night time requires quite a bit of saved power. According to the engineers, given present and projected battery efficiency, meaning batteries will account for roughly half the mass of the airplane.
Size and velocity – the Aquila has a wingspan akin to a industrial airliner’s however weighs solely one-third as a lot as a automotive. It is constructed of carbon fiber. The measurement:weight ration permits the Aquila is to fly a lot slower than a typical airplane of the identical measurement — about 25 mph at sea degree, in contrast with 50 mph for a glider or greater than 200 mph for a industrial airliner. What is difficult in that is that there isn’t a precedent for it. This is new territory.
Financial mannequin – The ultimate answer must be financially viable and economically aggressive with different community infrastructure options. The answer must have environment friendly on board energy and communication methods; make sure the plane are resilient to structural injury to scale back upkeep prices, and in a position to keep aloft for lengthy durations of time to maintain fleet numbers low; and decrease the quantity of human supervision related to their operation.
You can discover the entire replace from Facebook’s Andrew Cox and Martin Luis Gomez right here.