Alphabet’s Project Loon Won’t Need So Many Balloons after All
Cernescu Andrei / 3 years ago
Alphabet’s Project Loon has been in the works for quite some time now, and even though the original idea to use balloons in order to deliver internet to the world’s most remote areas is definitely great in theory, it turns out that implementing it is not exactly a walk in the park. Still, I’m pleased to tell you that the company has made some real progress on this front, as the overall number of balloons needed for the network has been reduced dramatically from hundreds to just 20 or 30.
Astro Teller, the chief of Alphabet’s experimental X division, recently revealed that the team has “now exceeded even their own expectations,” and that “they’ve leapt much closer to a day when balloon-powered Internet could become a reality for people in rural and remote regions of the globe.” The breakthrough relies on a series of optimizations for the main navigation and altitude control systems, which complement the system’s ability to ride air currents and stay in the same place for months at a time. Using fewer balloons means that operating costs are drastically reduced, while moving the service to new areas will now take just weeks as opposed to months. Project Loon engineer Sal Candido also had a few words to say about these advancements:
“We’ve actually made so much progress that we think our timeline for when we can provide useful internet service to people is much, much sooner.”
I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Project Loon in its final phase, and I do hope that it won’t be scrapped at some point in the near future, as it shows quite a bit of promise.