Facebook has unveiled Aquila, a drone that the social network hopes will deliver internet to the masses- along with the extra ad dollars that come with it.
The drone has been in development for over a year as part of Internet.org, Facebook’s initiative to help underdeveloped countries get online.
A video published on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page describes Aquila as having a wingspan of 40 metres, about the same as a Boeing 737. It is made out of lightweight composite materials, including carbon fibre, and is solar-powered.
In the company’s long-term vision for the project, hundreds of drones will circle a large area at an altitude of 60,000 feet, remaining aloft for three months at a time. Lasers will beam information at tens of gigabytes per second between the drones and systems on the ground.
According to US consulting firm McKinsey and Company, more than 4 billion people around the world still don’t have access to the internet.