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Facebook CTO talks up solar-powered dronesAt Facebook's F8 conference, Mike Schroepfer, the company's CTO, discusses Facebook's plan to make Internet access more ubiquitous through the use of solar-powered drone technology.
This is a picture of Aquila, our first prototype for our unmanned aerial vehicle. This is a solar powered drone built by a team who has the record for the longest ever solar powered drone flight. The idea of this is to loiter across an area at very high altitude. Sixty to ninety thousand feet in the air, stand on station for months at a time, and beam down backbone internet access. From this photo it's hard to get a sense of scale and this is an early prototype for testing out the aerodynamics. To give you a sense of the scale on this thing, this is us actually constructing the full scale version. This is several wing segments so this is actually one of the wing segments. And if we were to show this thing in real life, it has a wingspan greater than a 737 plane. All of you are probably familiar with that. And it has the mass of a small car. So it's a massive wing structure with solar panels, so that it can stay aloft for long periods of time. This is one of many initiatives. That we're doing that we'll be able to talk in a lot more detail about later this year to provide internet connectivity for the whole world.