Like Amazon, Facebook is getting into the drone business, but its aim is more noble than satisfying our need to have our Breaking Bad Blu-rays delivered almost immediately. Last summer, Facebook joined with several other tech companies to launch internet.org, with the goal of bringing the internet to underserved populations around the world (and possibly creating billions of new Facebook users). In a Facebook post on Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that as part of their effort to “beam internet to people from the sky,” Facebook’s Connectivity Lab has been developing “drones, satellites and lasers.”
Zuckerberg says they’ve been making “good progress,” and have helped 3 million people in the Philippines and Paraguay gain access to the internet in the last year. “Connecting the whole world will require inventing new technology too,” he writes. “That’s what our Connectivity Lab focuses on, and there’s a lot more exciting work to do here.”
To invent that technology, Facebook has hired scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Ames Research Center, and the British company Ascenta, which created the world’s longest-flying solar powered drone. The five employees poached from Ascenta will work on creating new “connectivity aircraft.”
Zuckerberg linked to a new video on internet.org that offers another glimpse into our drone-riddled future.