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Facebook Abandoning Drone Project
Facebook is scrapping its efforts to build its passenger jet-sized drones that provide wireless internet to the developing world, it announced on Tuesday, a major retreat from what had been an ambitious and high-profile initiative at the company. Facebook's revelation comes after Business Insider revealed earlier on Tuesday about upheaval at the Aquila project. It lost its long-time head, Andrew Cox, in May, and had been briefing partners about a potential redesign of its drones last year. The Aquila project's vision was to provide wireless internet via aircraft to the parts of the world without traditional connectivity infrastructure, and Facebook says it isn't abandoning these efforts entirely. It will now focus on building specific components like batteries and control computers for other aerial vehicles — but it will no longer build these aircraft itself. "We've decided now is the right moment to focus on the next set of engineering and regulatory challenges for HAPS connectivity," Facebook's Yael Maguire wrote in a blog post. "This means we will no longer design and build our own aircraft, and, as a result, we've closed our facility in Bridgewater."