Facebook has been working on a project to build giant internet drones that fly over regions lacking connectivity. It now appears that the social media company has abandoned its Aquila drone, and even laid off 16 people from the team. This is surprising because this was one of the most significant projects that the company has been working on.
The project is called Aquila, for which Facebook was having the drones built and this happened to be part of the bigger initiative from Facebook to provide more connectivity. The High Altitude Platform Stations or HAPS which were essentially the drones for the Aquila project, the company will now focus on developing the existing technologies.
Facebook’s Yael Maguire wrote in a blog post, “We’ve decided now is the right moment to focus on the next set of engineering and regulatory challenges for HAPS connectivity. This means we will no longer design and build our own aircraft, and, as a result, we’ve closed our facility in Bridgewater.”
The company will now focus the remaining resources of the project in building components like batteries as well as control components for other aircrafts. But it will not be geared towards building aircrafts of its own.
“While our focus in HAPS connectivity has shifted, we remain as committed as ever to addressing the three main barriers to connectivity: availability, affordability, and awareness,” wrote Maguire.
Facebook’s Project Aquila was already in some troubled waters according to an earlier Business Insider report and it lost its project head Andrew Cox in May as well.