Source: Capital FM


The most recent plan of the social media giant – Facebook Inc. – to assist people in getting online is quite unusual as it involves an autonomous robot helicopter that is connected to the ground. Also, the robot helicopter is built to work during times of natural disasters or any other emergency.

What to expect from the Facebook’s helicopter?

The autonomous robot helicopter of the tech giant is like a drone which is plugged into a power line instead of a battery. The helicopter can stay airborne for long periods of time because it would not be relying on a battery. However, because of depending on a power line, the autonomous robot helicopter would not be able to go long distances.

Last month, at the annual F8 developer conference of Facebook, the tech company revealed its drone. However, until now, we had no clue whatsoever about the tech company having a partner to work on its helicopter project.  Everfly, a firm that funded research projects in San Francisco and houses early-stage hardware, is a five-person drone startup that spun out of Otherlab. Now, the company is working with the social networking site on its autonomous robot helicopter.

Before her latest focus on aerial robotics, Mikell Taylor, the Chief Executive Officer of Everfly, worked with Bluefin Robotics on autonomous underwater robots. In addition to this, Everfly also worked on the small disposable autonomous cardboard drone project that was funded by DARPA, the experimental technology of the U.S. military. In January, news site Recode was the first in reporting the disposable drone project.

Facebook funding a drone project

Both the companies are now partners in the latest connectivity endeavor of the social networking site. The social media giant is calling the concept ‘Tether-tenna’. The concept is intended to bring reliable wireless to disaster areas. People familiar with the matter say that the Everfly was responsible for making most of the first prototype.

The company’s name was in fact on the drone that the social networking site revealed at the F8 conference. Also, the engineers of the company were at the F8 conference to answer questions about the project.

Facebook, which is funding the project, confirmed the partnership and shared a statement,
“Facebook engineers collaborated with Otherlab’s roboticists and aerodynamicists on an early proof-of-concept unit to create a platform that could handle the rigors of long endurance flight based on Facebook’s requirements for our Tether-tenna concept. Collaboration helps us increase the pace of innovation, and these types of partnerships continue to play a key role as Facebook iterates and develops next-generation technologies to connect communities when they need it most.”