Google tests secret 5G-enabled drones

The secret is out; Google is widening its technology portfolio to developing ultrafast 5G Internet drones

Tags: Google Incorporated
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Google tests secret 5G-enabled drones Google’s SkyBender project is using Virgin Galactic’s hangar to test 5G Internet drones (Getty Images)
By  Aasha Bodhani Published  January 31, 2016

Tech giant, Google is trialling solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles which aim to deliver high-speed 5G Internet powered from the air, as part of its secret project, dubbed SkyBender.

The tests involve multiple drones using 5G millimetre wave technology, according to information obtained through a public-records request and revealed by the Guardian. If successful, the plan could potentially offer gigabit data speeds around 40 times faster than the maximum 4G/LTE speeds available on smart devices now.  

According to the Guardian report, Jacques Rudell, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle said:  "The huge advantage of millimetre wave is access to new spectrum because the existing cellphone spectrum is overcrowded. It's packed and there's nowhere else to go."

Though there is no official comment from Google, sources say the tech giant is exploring complex ‘phased array' technology to boost the range of 5G drones.

SkyBender is being tested with an aircraft called Centaur, as well as other drones with wingspans of up to 50m made by Google Titan, a separate division formed by Google's acquired New Mexico start-up Titan Aerospace in 2014.

Google is temporarily using 15,000 square feet of space in a hangar at the isolated Spaceport America in New Mexico, which was originally used for the Virgin Galactic spaceflights.

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