Project Loon: Almost four years ago, Google launched a project that aims to bring online coverage to remote areas with specially designed balloons. Since then there has been steady progress with numerous studies, but today the company has announced a breakthrough that will greatly facilitate the development of the service.
Until today, the balloons were flying around the world in rings, and they moved up or down the stratosphere depending on the winds. When a balloon is dragged away from an area that requires connectivity, another will immediately follow to replace it.
The team behind Project Loon says he has managed to figure out how to send small groups of balloons to areas that can stay in place for months to a year. Below is a video showing how this can be done.
Astro Teller, who leads the Alphabet trial, also known as X, has explained that this will allow Project Loon to do incredible things.
"Now we are running an experiment trying to provide services to specific parts of the world with 10 or 20 or 30 balloons, not 200 or 300 or 400."
To do this, Google's engineers spent a lot of time improving the height and navigation systems, but also to implement a new AI software that regulates how they fly balloons instead of using predefined navigation paths.
The team reported that this translates into a reduction in 100x of the total number of balloons that should be used to make Internet access available. This will lead to a drastic reduction in costs, and the possibility of launching Project Loon services will take place much faster than expected.