Google, Facebook, and Amazon have all expressed their wish to provide Internet access and drone delivery with the help of drones and balloons.
The two Internet giants, Facebook and Google, want to develop new projects to broaden the Internet coverage and access for the remaining 57 percent of the population that still does not have access to the Internet.
Facebook’s plan is to build a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as drones that would use lasers to boost a signal from one aircraft to the other, which would then be transmitted back to Earth.
Jay Parikh, a Vice President of Infrastructure Engineering at Facebook, said that although the project is still at an early stage, Facebook is working hard to send the fleet of drones high up soon.
Google on the other hand, has taken more steps toward finishing its own project, which is meant to make Internet access available to people in the developing world.
“Project Loon” – the project developed by the Google X research lab – is meant to provide Internet access to rural and remote areas across the globe, because currently two-thirds of the world’s population does not have Internet access. Balloons will be placed in the stratosphere (20 miles or 32 kilometres high), to create a wireless network that will fill in any coverage gaps, and get people online.
Mike Cassidy, Vice President at Google and Project Leader of Google X Project Loon, said that almost 1,000 balloons have already been sent high up, and that one of them went around the world nineteen times.
Google X announced in October that Project Loon will be providing Internet coverage and access in Indonesia by next year.
Apart from Facebook and Google, Amazon – the third Internet giant – has already begun testing its delivery system called Prime Air. In 2014, Amazon wrote a petition to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in which it stated that Amazon Prime Air will one day become as common as mail trucks that are currently used to deliver products.
Even though it may seem as Facebook and Google are in competition with each other, Yael Maguire, engineering director at Facebook Connectivity Lab said at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Solve conference that Google and Facebook are in fact collaborating on some of the primary technologies.
Rich DeVaul, director of Rapid Evaluation and Mad Science at Google X, confirmed that statement.
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