Look Up In the Sky! It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a…Drone?
As a true tech junkie, I find that one of the most enjoyable parts of my life is when I find new and exciting tech devices that are on the cusp of release. Google Glass, the Oculus Rift…these are all products that I wait impatiently for, virtually salivating over the prospect of adding them to my repertoire of fun tech toys.
As a result, when I started hearing the buzz a while back about drones, and the many commercial applications they could be part of, my ears perked up with interest. Granted, drones are nothing new, having been used in warfare for decades. However, the technology is starting to develop to the point where drones are no longer the sole purview of the military.
While the list of applications for civilian drone use is pretty expansive, there are a few that could impact a wide swatch of the population in general. One of the most important of these is internet access.
Two companies in specific have already begun the journey towards using drones to provide high speed internet to everyone, including the two thirds of the world’s population that does not have any internet access whatsoever. It should come as no surprise that these two companies are Google and Facebook, both traditionally at the forefront of new technology.
Facebook started things out by launching their Connectivity Lab, which is designed to research different devices that can enhance internet connectivity. As CEO Mark Zuckerberg puts it, “We’ve been working on ways to beam Internet to people from the sky.”
Google’s foray into the world of drones can be seen first in the launching of Project Loon, which is designed to use high-tech balloons as a network to beam down high-speed internet. Since then, Google beat Facebook in the acquisition of Titan Aerospace, one of the current leaders in commercial drones.
The drones developed by Titan are designed to fly at an excess of 60,000 feet, which is above the zone regulated by the FAA. Speeds up to 1GB per second are expected, far outstripping what is currently available to most US households.
While the days of seeing drones zipping across the skies en masse are still forthcoming, the fact that two of the biggest names in the internet are developing them could mean that those days are not far off. Do you see drones as helpful or a hindrance? Let us know in the Comments section below!