The newly announced partnership is the product of a successful collaboration with Google during Solar Impulse's record-setting, coast-to-coast flight across the United States this past summer, according to company officials.
This summer, the ultra-lightweight Solar Impulse plane completed a two-month-long cross-country flight, touching down in New York City on July 6 to wrap up a historic flight that included stops in Phoenix, Dallas, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. Solar Impulse's coast-to-coast trip began on May 3 at Moffett Airfield near San Francisco, Calif.
Each leg of Solar Impulse's summer journey was broadcast online, featuring real-time updates on the plane's position, altitude and speed and live views inside the aircraft's cockpit. As part of the company's new partnership with Google, upcoming Solar Impulse flights will include in-flight Google Hangouts to better connect the pilots with members of the public, Solar Impulse officials said.
The Solar Impulse aircraft is able to fly throughout the day and night without burning any fuel. The plane is powered entirely by solar panels and onboard batteries, which charge during the day to enable the plane to continue flying when the sun goes down.