Google’s Hush-Hush ‘Skybender’ Project – Revealed!

by February 2, 2016
Google skybender project

Image Source: titanaerospace

Hush-hush! It’s a Google secret! However the tech giant may try, it cannot keep people from eavesdropping into its amazing projects. (Sorry, Google  We can’t keep our readers, who also happen to be your fans, waiting.) So, what is this hush-hush about? Well, to be honest ‘The Guardian’ was the first one to spill the beans about Google’s secret project called Skybender.

We often take the internet for granted in cities. But, access to the internet is a privilege for the other underdeveloped parts of the world. Internet live statistics state that only 40% of the world is connected via the internet. Considering the scope of business, Google obviously would want to spread its wings to the untouched areas of the world, and so it started with the Project Loon. The search engine giant does not wish to stop in its quest for a more connected world. It is envisaging the world with thousands of high elevated ‘Self-flying aircrafts’ that flawlessly keep every nook and corner of the world connected to the internet. And so, tada! New Project ‘Skybender’!

So, what exactly is the secret project ‘Skybender’?

The ‘Skybender’ is a technology that uses solar-powered planes to beam down super-fast 5G internet! Sounds cool, isn’t it? (At least for now… The true test lies in bringing it into reality in India!)

skybender flight control centre

Image Source: theguardian.com

According to the report, Project Skybender comes from the same team who came up with the Project Loon. Google is testing Skybender out in New Mexico, where it has leased 15,000 square feet Virgin Galactic’s hangar space for a whopping $1,000 a day to house the aircraft and the drones. Now, that’s a lot of money! The thrilling gateway to the space terminal is designed by Richard Foster for the Virgin Galactic spaceflights. In the nearby Spaceflight operations centre, the tech giant has installed an exclusive dedicated flight control centre as well, that is separate from the terminal.

runway spaceflight operations center

Image Source: theguardian.com

Google is using ‘Centaur’, its optionally piloted plane, along with the Google Titan’s solar-powered drones. In 2014, Google bagged Titan Aerospace Company and indicated that their drones will soon start conducting series of tests to beam down internet high from the sky at the MWC 2015.

skybender project installation

Image Source: theguardian.com

Skybender’s ground ‘bending’ technology

The project is using one of those technologies which is said to fortify the next gen 5G wireless internet access. Skybender is experimenting with high-frequency millimetre wave radio transmission that can transmit GBs of data every second. The data transmitted can be up to 40 times more compared to current 4G LTE systems.

What makes this millimetre wave technology unique is its access to a new spectrum, other than the existing cell phone spectrum, which is overcrowded, according to the Jacques Rudell, electrical engineering professor and specialist in this technology at the University of Washington.

However, compared to mobile phone signals range, the millimetre wave transmission range is much shorter. To get these amazing waves working from the high-flying drones, Google has to carry out experiments from ‘Phased array’, a complex technology that burns a lot of power according to Rudell.

Will Google enjoy the first-mover advantage?

Not really. Google is not the only one envisaging thousand of high-flying drones, Facebook too seem to have the same dreams! The social-networking giant is gearing up with its Project Acquila that will see similar self-flying solar-powered planes that have a wing span larger than a Boeing 737! These flying planes too will beam down the internet from the blue and can hover up for months at 60,000 feet, much higher compared to other commercial aircraft. Then, Google has its own arm ‘Project Loon’ that is said to beam internet from the floating balloons. Microsoft white spaces project too proposes to provide internet connectivity from the unused television spectrum.

google solar powered planes

Image Source: independent.co.uk

You may ask is this technology anytime coming to India. (Have I read your mind?) Sadly, there are no updates as of yet. However, to cheer you guys up, I can say, we can still bet on the Project Loon that is pilot testing in India. Keep your fingers crossed… Your dream of super-fast internet might soon come true!

Know more about Project Loon here.





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