Say goodbye to Facebook-made internet drone, dream that the social media giant shared with the world four years ago. The company just announced that it will kill its Aquila program, an effort to build a high-altitude platform station system. it’s not going to design and manufacture its own aircraft anymore and is closing the relevant facility in the British town of Bridgwater.
“As we’ve worked on these efforts, it’s been exciting to see leading companies in the aerospace industry start investing in this technology too — including the design and construction of new high-altitude aircraft,” Yael Maguire, an engineering director at the company, said in the Facebook post. “Given these developments, we’ve decided not to design or build our own aircraft any longer, and to close our facility in Bridgwater.”
From now on, Facebook will focus on developing the high-altitude internet access systems. It will work with partners like Airbus to develop the connectivity itself and put it in the skies.
Facebook’s Aquila internet drone completed two test flights. One of them was in 2016 when the drone crashed after misjudging the wind during an automated landing procedure. It didn’t even successfully land until June 2017. The decision of killing the drone program sounds wise as it might save the money, which the company could spend on the connectivity.