Project Loon It is one of the most ambitious and interesting within the Alphabet, which is part of ‘X’, the experimental division of the company. Broadly speaking, what is being sought with Loon is to deploy balloons equipped with technology capable of offering internet access in remote areas where there is no infrastructure for this service.
The project is about four years old, and in all this time we have seen advances and challenges that have complicated their official deployment, even came to think that Loon would be cancelled due to restructuring of the company. But today the project managers have given new signs of life presenting novelties, What tells us that this continues.
Balloons now with Machine Learning
Today during an event in Mountain View offices, Astro Teller, Department X leader, presented new developments for Project Loon, which will take advantage of much of the technology created in house within artificial intelligence. With this, the balloons will be more efficient, will have greater control, and it will be easier to replace them in the event of failure, that it will be cheaper.
When the project was announced, the idea was to launch balloons to give back to the planet offering connectivity in several areas, but here we found that it was necessary to calculate a safe distance between each balloon, that they had to predict the behavior of the wind, something that was not at all. Because of this emerged several reports of stray balloons, where some came to fall into populated areas.
Little more than one year ago, Google introduced us details of how were these balloons and the tests to which they were subjected. And today we explain that the balloons will start to equip artificial intelligence software, specifically machine learning, which will allow them to have a more precise control of altitude and navigation, with which would not be necessary that they are flying all over the planet, but that they “know” to focus on areas with the presence of people.
This will also be the number of balloons to deploy much lower, since today the project envisaged up to 400 balloons flying at the same time all over the planet, and with this new technology only 30 balloons would need maximum, all this without leaving without connection to those areas that require service.
Despite this, investors are still doubting the viability of this project, questioned if there would be more economical building infrastructure instead of managing a whole network of balloons in real time, with all problems and potential failures that this represents. However, in X it is assured that this advance will allow them to have soon a date for the official launch of Loon.