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Google Project Loon to solve Indian rural internet issues


Indian government, in collaboration with Google, is doing a trial run to provide internet connectivity to disadvantaged villages under ‘Project Loon’. The project is expected to deliver internet connectivity to places in India which don’t have on ground cyberspace connectivity.

Google’s Project Loon, as per the Google blog on this technology, creates a loop of Super pressure air balloons in the stratosphere with the help of air direction and software algorithm. Beneath each lighter than air layer, balloons are hung.

These balloons travel to places where they are needed by descending or rising into the layer of wind traveling in the wanted direction. Two radio transceivers receive and send data streams.

The Loon project can help India by partnering with telecommunication companies and share cellular spectrum where people will be able to connect to the balloons directly from their computers and phones. The signal would then be passed across the balloon network, and yet again to Earth for global network use.

This technology is expected to be a cheaper solution than installing fibre optic cables or building mobile phone masts across the country, which could be lost in the vicious circle of corruption (hence, increasing the value of product) and infrastructural problems (which already subsist).

People living in areas without any existing internet infrastructure would be directly connected to the internet without any mediating technology. It would thus help them to easily access the information and opportunities of the world-wide web.

At present, Indian entrepreneurs, as well as the government, are foraying into developing user-targeted online education systems.

In this regard, this technology will be able to connect the remotely situated students to easy access of online education centres.

On the other hand, farmers of isolated villages would be able to utilize easy connectivity for learning new cultivating, fertilizing, pest control, weeding and harvesting techniques.

If the Project Loon initiative by Google, in collaboration with the Indian government, falls on the right trajectory, then India would get benefitted by this technology in many ways. The rural and isolated parts of our country could straightforwardly become a part of the ‘Digital India’ campaign.

Most importantly, mere 15% of Indians use the internet at all, according to a new report by the Economic World Forum (WEF). In this age of digitization, Indians would be greatly benefited from projects such as Loon, which can help bridge the information gaps in the areas of agriculture, education and communications.


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Google’s Wing Aviation Receives Approval from FAA to Operate Drone for Deliveries

It's the first time a company has gotten a federal air carrier certification for drone deliveries

google, drone, wing aviation
A man using a mobile phone walks past Google offices in New York, Dec. 17, 2018. VOA

Google affiliate Wing Aviation has received federal approval allowing it to make commercial deliveries by drone.

It’s the first time a company has gotten a federal air carrier certification for drone deliveries. The approval from the Federal Aviation Administration means that Wing can operate commercial drone flights in part of Virginia, which it plans to begin later this year.

The FAA said Tuesday that the company met the agency’s safety requirements by participating in a pilot program in Virginia with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and Virginia Tech, and by conducting thousands of flights in Australia over the past several years.

“This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement.

drones, wing aviation, google
“This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement. Wikimedia

Wing said the approval “means that we can begin a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes in the United States.”

The company didn’t name any businesses that would take part in commercial deliveries. It said it plans to spend the next several months demonstrating its technology and answering questions from people and businesses in Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Virginia.

Wing said it will “solicit feedback with the goal of launching a delivery trial later this year.”

Wing said that to win FAA certification it had to show that one of its drone deliveries would pose less risk to pedestrians than the same trip made in a car. The company said its drones have flown more than 70,000 test flights and made more than 3,000 deliveries to customers in Australia.

The company is touting many benefits from deliveries by electric drones. It says medicine and food can be delivered faster, that drones will be especially helpful to consumers who need help getting around, and that they can reduce traffic and emissions.

drones, wing aviation, google
FILE – A drone demonstrates delivery capabilities from the top of a UPS truck during testing in Lithia, Florida, Feb. 20, 2017. VOA

Drone usage in the U.S. has grown rapidly in some industries such as utilities, pipelines and agriculture. But drones have faced more obstacles in delivering retail packages and food because of federal regulations that bar most flights over crowds of people and beyond sight of the operator without a waiver from the FAA.

ALSO READ: All that you Need to Know about Buying Watches

The federal government recently estimated that about 110,000 commercial drones were operating in the U.S., and that number is expected to zoom to about 450,000 in 2022.

Amazon is working on drone delivery, a topic keen to CEO Jeff Bezos. Delivery companies including UPS and DHL have also conducted tests. (VOA)