The idea of a massive drone floating above cities for months – if not years – without requiring maintenance or landing has been the goal for many companies.
Big names such as Google, Facebook, and Airbus all tried to create this plane-sized drone. All had setbacks, delays, and for some like Facebook’s Aquila project, halted and may soon be scrapped entirely.
Too Grand an Idea?
A number of issues arise with this grand project idea. First, the power source is an issue. Without requiring any landings, the drone has to be self-sufficient. For the majority of these endeavors, solar panels are used. While it can be a great way to extract alternative energy, it may not be enough for longer trips. Another issue is the finances and manpower required for such a construction. Even billion-dollar franchises such as Facebook have faced financial roadblocks. Having the crew with the knowledge to build the drone is also another hindrance.
Telelift Flying Towers
Now, another company throws their name in the contender list. The American company Telelift plans to use a similar – yet smaller – concept with their cellphone towers. Using smaller drones, they plan to equip them with transmitters. The flying capability of drones gives them a vertical advantage, which can strengthen an area’s signal. This is on a similar vein to the Aquila project. With Aquila, the drone bounces off signal from a source and distributes it to its range.
Telelift Drone Approach
The Telelift version acts on a smaller scale, strengthening signals in places with poor reception. These can include rural areas, underdeveloped countries, or even out at sea. The size is smaller, the scale is smaller, and the expected flight time is shorter. Instead of the ‘years’ in the air that other companies plan, Telelift aims for their cell tower drone to stay up for months at a time.
Their drone also comes with a tether. Telelift plans to have a wire attached to the drone at all times. This also means that their drone would not be a ‘wandering machine’ like others have planned.
What do you think? Will this be the next generation of cellphone towers?