GOVERNMENT authorities are investigating Facebook’s massive drone Aquila after it crash landed.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTBS) launched a probe into the inaugural flight of Facebook’s drone which the social networking giant hopes will be able to bring internet to remote parts of the world.
Following the flight, Facebook said in a statement: “We were happy with the successful first test flight and were able to verify several performance models and components including aerodynamics, batteries, control systems and crew training, with no major unexpected results.”
However it has now emerged that the inaugural flight, which took place in July, was not without incident.
Peter Knudson, a NTSB spokesman, has today confirmed that when flying over Arizona in the United States the drone suffered “substantial” damage in a crash.
No one was harmed in the incident, and there was no damage on the ground.
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said in July: “We gathered lots of data about our models and the aircraft structure – and after two years of development, it was emotional to see Aquila actually get off the ground.
“But as big as this milestone is, we still have a lot of work to do.
“Eventually, our goal is to have a fleet of Aquilas flying together at 60,000 feet, communicating with each other with lasers and staying aloft for months at a time – something that’s never been done before.
“To get there, we need to solve some difficult engineering challenges.”
The crash could prove to be a setback for Facebook’s Internet.org plan, which hopes to bring extensive internet access to under-served areas of the world such as parts of Africa, India and the Middle East.