Facebook says it has completed building its first full-scale drone, to be used in bringing Internet connection to certain remote parts of the world – though, given fears of US cyber-espionage, it may not be welcome in quite a few of them, and indeed may be shot down if it ventures into hostile space.
Facebook Spy Drone Set To Fly But Could Be Shot Down
The drone has the wingspan of a Boeing 737. Facebook says it plans to put the device through its paces in the USA later this year.
The plane weighs 400kg, and can hover between 20 and 30km above the altitude of commercial aircraft, so that it is not affected by problematic weather or flight plans.
The drone, which was built in 14 months, is able to fly for 90 days at a time, a Facebook executive said. Helium balloons will be attached to the aircraft to float it up to operating height. The drones have a wingspan of 42 metres.
Because the planes must constantly move to stay aloft, they will circle on a 3km radius. During the day, they will float up to 90,000 feet (3km) and at night will drift down to 60,000 feet (20 km) to conserve energy – that is, if hostile nations do not shoot them down.