Facebook’s giant solar drone Aquila is going on display for the first time in London at a new V&A exhibition

 
Lynsey Barber
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Facebook's Aquila drone will fature in the V&A's The Future Starts Here exhibition (Source: Facebook)

Londoners will be able to get a real life glimpse of one of Facebook’s most ambitious projects to date - a giant solar-powered drone - as it goes on display for the very first time.

The aircraft which Facebook believes can bring internet access to remote regions around the world, will form part of a major new exhibition on technology and the future at the V&A.

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The plane, called Aquila and built in Somerset, will form part of the museum’s first exhibition focused on design, digital and architecture, that will highlight areas such as genetics, artificial intelligence, cryogenics and space exploration.

More than 100 exhibits will explore the intersection of technology, science and art, and what it means for our sense of self, the public sphere, the planet and even the after life, also probing visitors to consider the ethical implications.

A laundry folding robot designed by scientists at Berkeley university will also feature, as will a video of Apple founder Steve Jobs pitching the council to get permission for its giant new California headquarters, and a DNA testing kit from British startup Bento Lab that wants to be the Raspberry Pi for genetics.

"From the very beginning, the V&A has championed pioneering art, science, design and technology," said the museum's director Tristram Hunt.

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"Now in the midst of the digital revolution, this eagerly anticipated exhibition delves into our fast accelerating future of artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and space exploration. The V&A is taking live experiments about our future society from the studio and lab into the museum."

The Future Starts Here exhibition, sponsored by Volkswagen and located in the museum's new £55m Sainsbury Gallery, will run from next May.

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