Both Google and Facebook are currently in a race of sorts to bring internet access to developing areas of the world. What’s unusual about this race is the method in which Google and Facebook plan on delivering said internet access. Both companies plan on doing this using solar-powered drones to beam an internet connection down to users who would otherwise not have any way to connect to the internet. Unfortunately, it looks as though Google’s solar-powered drone development may have hit a bit of a snag.
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Recently Bloomberg Business is reported that Google’s solar-powered drone was performing a test flight in Albuquerque, New Mexico when it suddenly crashed into the ground. The test flight took place at a private airstrip where the solar-powered drone took off and shortly after, plummeted to the ground and crashed. The cause of the crash is not currently known, but the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. Thankfully though, nobody was killed or injured.
Google’s solar-powered, internet drone is called the Solara 50 and was built by a company by the name of Titan Aerospace. This is the same aerospace company that Facebook attempted to purchase a while back, but Google nabbed the company out from under them. The company is headed by a man named Vern Raburn, a former Microsoft executive. Titan Aerospace says that “Although our prototype plane went down during a recent test, we remain optimistic about the potential of solar-powered planes to help deliver connectivity.” Also, that “Part of building a new technology is overcoming hurdles along the way.” This is an optimistic view to have on the incident, but this could end up being a good thing as far as continuing on goes. While this isn’t the best thing to hear, hopefully, Titan Aerospace and Google will learn from this crash and use that data to improve the Solara 50. It’s really great to see two huge companies like Facebook and Google fighting and racing to create drones that will be capable of delivering internet access to developing countries. The interesting part will be seeing who wins this internet delivery race.