Facebook has announced it will no longer pursue its project of building solar-powered aircraft to bring the Internet to remote communities.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, project Aquila will not be the revolutionary technological success Facebook was hoping for. In a news post, the company announced that “we’ve decided not to design or build our own aircraft any longer, and to close our facility in Bridgewater.”
The Aquila program started in 2014 when Facebook acquired Ascenta, a drone research company. The hopes were to build the world’s first solar-powered aircraft capable of bringing the Internet to remote communities via a laser beam. Several structural and mechanical failures led the company to reconsider its plans.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook will continue to work with industry partners, such as Airbus, to help advance “high altitude platform stations” (HAPS) like the Aquila. But Facebook will clearly not try to build the aircraft itself any longer.