Facebook is dropping its plan of designing and manufacturing its own aircraft. And to that effect, it has made it known that it will soon be closing down the facility it had set earlier at Bridgwater, which is a British town.
The current state of affairs
One of the officials working with the company in an interview termed the whole undertaking unnecessary especially in such a time when ‘business giants’ in the aerospace segment are focusing on coming up with their own high-altitude flying machines.
Facebook is currently shifting its focus to the development of the high-altitude internet access systems. It wants to move that path by partnering with others towards the development of connectivity.
A person following closely on the activities of Facebook has outlined that its development process has been rocky all along the way. It was a short while ago when reports came up that its Aquila drone had crash-landed after it misjudged the wind in the course of an automated landing procedure. Reports indicate it was only in 2017 that it managed to land successfully.
It was a great move for the company to have dismissed the crash as some sort of ‘structural failure’ and it thus seemed the flight had ended in a relatively smooth way. The Aquila program has faced numerous challenges along the way but that was expected anyway.
The cancellation and issues surrounding the matter
For a company of Facebook’s statue, what happened was no doubt a symbolic blow. However, it depends on the way one chooses to look at the cancellation. It is in a way a great move since the social media giant would be in a position to save money that would be spent on connectivity as well as the other aspects of the company’s business.
By abandoning a significant portion of its Aquila project, Facebook will be able to focus in coming up with the solar-powered, passenger jet-sized drones. The company will be in a position to wirelessly connect segments of the developing world to the internet.
Yael Maguire who is Facebook’s Director of Engineering reveals they will employ “underlying technologies” behind Aquila. That implies they will not be designing their own aircraft for use in the initiative and 16 members of its staff have been laid off already.
Maguire says time has finally arrived for them to focus on the development of the next set of regulatory and engineering challenges for HAPS connectivity and that was the reason the company took to closing down the facility in Bridgewater.