Airbus has forged ahead Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) by developing a high-altitude solar powered drone that can perform the duties of a normal satellite at low cost. Named Zephyr, the drone can be used to deliver wireless services as opposed to relying on satellites and towers. Bloomberg’s Sam Grobart reports that Zephyr is more than an aircraft but a high altitude pseudo satellite (HAPS).
Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) had earlier announced plans to use drones and aircraft light-balloons to transmit internet signals to remote areas where there is no coverage. The two tech companies are trying to tap into areas that have not been explored in the past in terms of business opportunities due to a deficiency on internet connection.
Airbus’ Zephyr Technical Director Christopher Kelleher reiterates that Zephyr can perform all the duties of a normal $2 billion satellite but with so much closeness to the earth surface.
“Traditional satellites orbit hundreds of miles away from the earth surface and are in a constant rotation around the globe. But the Zephyr operates at just 65,000 feet and is Geo stationery. That means it can remain above a specific location for extended periods of time, “said Mr. Grobart
Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) may have to consider Airbus latest innovation as it is cost effective and flies without fuel providing coverage for a fraction of the price. The light aircraft comes with a light-weight carbon body that is covered with solar panels that are used to power smaller engines that keep the drone running day and night.
The lighter the aircraft the longer the batteries can last enabling the drone to stay for longer hours in the air. Zephyr engineers are constantly in the lookout for innovations and ideas that can make the aircraft lighter. Airbus plans to use the zephyr as a low-cost solution to providing internet connection to areas where conventional communication satellites have struggled.
Airbus remains unconcerned by incoming competition from Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) in the space, reiterating it will only strengthen innovation in the space.
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