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Facebook is building a massive, autonomous drone. Here's what it looks like

Facebook is building a massive, autonomous drone. Here's what it looks like
Facebook

We all know that Facebook makes its money off our personal information, so when we heard the news about a new Facebook drone, many folks were worried. Don't panic. It's not a spy drone; it's for a good cause.

Facebook's Connectivity Lab is working on projects to expand the Internet to places where there's little chance of traditional Internet infrastructure - fiber-optic cable, cell towers, etc. - ever being built. The company says 10% of the world's population lives in these remote areas.

That's where the drones come in. The one you see in the photo above is called Aquila, and it's the first prototype of its kind. It has the wingspan of a 737 but it's lighter than a car. When Facebook deploys these solar-powered drones, they'll fly at 60,000 to 90,000 feet - well above commercial air traffic - for up to three months at a time.

The working theory is that a ground station will transmit the Internet signal via radio frequencies to a mothership drone, which will then use lasers to share the data with other drones in a constellation-like formation. The drones will then send the signal to Wi-Fi receptors on the ground via radio frequencies.

Check out the drone and Facebook's plan to increase Internet connectivity in the video below.

Take a look inside Facebook's Connectivity Lab - an important part of our effort to bring connectivity to the billions of people who are unconnected today.

Posted by Facebook Engineering on Thursday, July 30, 2015

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