The ultimate goal for drones is still the stars. Even today, companies around the world try and crack the formula that would take their brand to the stratosphere. Companies such as Boeing, Uber, and even Facebook want a drone capable of flying higher than ever before. The key here is the power source, as the drone in mind has to stay in the air for months – even years – at a time without landing.
Softbank Solar Drone Idea
Using solar panels built around the drone, it can absorb sunlight during flight and convert it into energy. In theory, it can replenish its energy supplies fully via solar power, and no longer require frequent maintenance. Of course, if a drone runs on solar power, it has to be large enough to have a lot of panels in its body.
If you look at the many drone prototypes of these companies, there is one thing in common. They are all larger than your average drone. Some even compete with full-sized airplanes in size, and that gives you an idea of what the end game is.
For some, this massive drone design could be a cheaper alternative to a satellite. Others however plan to use the drone as a source of internet connection. It can fly all over the world, providing broadband to nearby areas.
The companies Softbank and Alphabet also plan to do something similar. Using their HAPS (High-altitude platform station) project, they want a massive drone to spread wireless broadband to areas. In fact, they are very serious about this project. So serious, that they invested $125 million for its development.
While other similar projects (Aquila from Facebook for example) face problems that caused delays, Alphabet’s dog in this fight may be ahead soon enough. They have the funds, the backing, and can take the challenges head on. Facebook’s Aquila had concerns of the funding, as well as the people managing the tests. Could Alphabet’s drone fly above everyone else’s projects?