Facebook pulls plug on its internet boosting drones before they even took off

Facebook drone

In order to increase internet connectivity in areas that have poor reception, Facebook recently involved itself in launching tiny, pocket-sized drones to boost mobile data speed, as reported by Business Insider.

The drones were designed in a way that they could carry “high-density solid-state drives… that could then be used to ferry data”.

The drones are supposed to work as a mesh network of sorts between a grounded connection and a user’s smartphone in order to facilitate high-bandwidth data transfer, The Verge reported on Friday.

The project was codenamed “Catalina” and was discontinued a year ago, adding to the list of aerial internet projects that have been abandoned by Facebook.

Back in 2017, Facebook had developed a small helicopter drones project that could temporarily replace cellular services in emergency situations which was canceled later on. Facebook pulled the plug on the project a few months after it was showcased at F8 developer conference.

The idea behind the project was to send a small helicopter equipped with telecommunications equipment hundreds of meters up in the air in order for it to tether to fiber and powerlines in places where wireless network was compromised due to a natural disaster or other factors.

June 2018 saw Facebook abandoning its plan to develop high-flying solar-powered drones called Aquila that were aimed at providing internet connectivity to nearly four billion people across the remote areas of the world.

According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the aim behind Aquila was to help the world connect and help people who do not have access to the internet gain access to opportunities of the internet.

The Aquila project kicked off in 2014 and in 2017, the solar-powered drone saw the second full-scale successful test flight.

Facebook still has its internet.org initiative that is aimed at bringng internet access and benefits of connectivity to the parts of the world that does not have them.



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