Google has taken balloon-powered internet ‘a step closer to reality’ as Project Loon, part of its X research lab, says it can now use AI to predict weather systems and keep its balloons where they ned to be.
Project Loon was created with the intention of providing internet connectivity to people in rural and remote areas in the world by using balloons taught to stay in a particular location.
“Project Loon’s algorithms can now send small teams of balloons to form a cluster over a specific region where people need internet access. This is a shift from our original model for Loon in which we planned to create rings of balloons sailing around the globe, and balloons would take turns moving through a region to provide service,” said Astro Teller, ‘captain of moonshots’ at X, in a blog post.
Back in September, Loon reported that, in its latest test, a balloon managed to spend 14 weeks in Peruvian airspace – making 20,00 altitude adjustments during its flight
Teller said: “Although our navigation algorithms can get even better, and we need to test them in many other parts of the world, this is a positive sign for Loon’s economic and operational viability. We’ll be able to put together a Loon network over a particular region in weeks not months, and it would be a lot less work to launch and manage.”