The novel drone has the capacity to generate its own energy for extended flight time.
Facebook has filed a patent for a kite drone. In the patent, it is referred to as a “dual-kite aerial vehicle” and consists of two kites working together.
The model indicates that each kite could be directed independently. In the meantime, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has the capacity to generate its own energy.
The purpose is to extend its flying time. “The systems described herein additionally include components for generating electrical energy from the gradient air movement to extend a flight time of the dual-kite aerial vehicle,” reads the patent.
Facebook states that one advantage of these types of drones is that they could still be fairly large. The firm even describes a kilometer-long tether. They could also generate power through solar panels or tether movement.
Its purpose is not yet known but one could assume it is to boost or give access to the internet in our of reach areas. That has been the purpose of the other drones Facebook has toyed with.
The patent does say that it aims to overcome the shortcoming found in other drones. “As UAV design moves into this challenging new frontier, shortcomings of conventional aircraft design have become increasingly apparent,” reads the patent description.
It goes on to name all the complications encountered by UAVs from poor performance to unpredictable flight conditions. We have to wonder if Facebook’s other drone projects encountered the same issues.
We all remember Facebook’s Aquila and Catalina projects. The first was a 900-pound carbon fiber aircraft while the latter used bird-sized drones but both were met with mixed reviews.
What this means is still unclear. Just because Facebook filed a patent does not mean it’s building the drones. And considering that its plans to extend internet access everywhere have not gone well, the drone may not even have a use.
for Interesting Engineering June 01st, 2019