Dubbed SkyBender the cunning plan is to use solar powered drones armed with millimeter-wave radio transmitters that could send out next-generation 5G wireless Internet signals.
Google has been working on SkyBender since last summer and has set up a series of transceivers to test the SkyBender signal reception.
Google SkyBender uses solar-powered drones, produced by the Google-acquired Titan Aerospace, and Centaur piloted planes produced by Aurora Flight Sciences. Google would use the autonomous aircraft to send its internet signal through phased arrays and to consumer devices.
The extremely-high-frequency waves experimented with for the project could provide data at speeds around 40 times of those that current 4G networks offer, but they are easily scattered by atmosphere, rain, fog, and foliage, leaving them with an effective range only about a tenth of that of 4G signals. Google’s project includes testing various transceivers that would extend the signals’ coverage and mean that it had bandwidth to play with, which no one else wants.
Google has not officially announced Project SkyBender and there is no time frame for when testing will be completed, although Google has permission from the Federal Communications Commission to continue its desert operations through July.