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SoftBank plans drone-delivered IoT and internet by 2023
A Japanese telecommunications giant and a California-based drone builder intend to start a drone-delivered internet service by 2023. The two companies, Softbank and AeroVironment, say they’ve assembled the first one already, according to materials (pdf) on SoftBank’s website in April.The HAWK30 drone has a wingspan of 260 feet and is powered by solar panels mounted on the wings that drive 10 electric motors. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will fly in the stratosphere at 65,000 feet above sea level (12 miles), AeroVironment says in a press release. That’s around twice the altitude that many passenger planes fly at. Why the stratosphere? Well, one reason is that lower altitudes often have strong winds to deal with, including straight after storms. The companies say disaster communications could be a primary use case for the drones, and the stratosphere has a steady current.
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