When Google expressed its intent of developing such smart, hot-air balloons which could provide internet coverage, many laughed at the idea. Now that Google has launched the pilot phase of it already, the company goes on to explain how it aims to provide a steady internet coverage with Project Loon.
It is natural to assume that since balloons float in the air, they may be affected by environmental conditions. A gale of wind or some other factor may push a balloon away from the next balloon and this may wreck havoc on the internet coverage in the area.
However, Google has devised a fairly impressive plan of resolving these issues. Dan Piponi, who is a Rapid Evaluator at Project Loon, explains how this can be avoided, “They [the balloons] look at their near-neighbors and tried to spread each other out nicely. But as we move forward, we may use methods that take into account everything. So every balloon essentially will have information about what every other balloon is doing. In future, it will probably be a much more sophisticated simulation.”
The whole idea is encapsulated in a video that Google has released. The video is posted below and it shows that balloons will essentially be equipped with some form of artificial intelligence, so that they could discern the presence of other balloons in real-time and see how weak internet coverage could be tackled.
In other words, when the balloons drift away and internet coverage weakens, others move in to fill the gap thereby compensating well. In this way, the overall internet coverage provided by the hot air balloons can be manipulated and controlled.