Google’s drone tests in the New Mexico desert are part of a secret effort called Skybender, according to The Guardian.
The tests are taking place at the Spaceport America facility in the town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, as Business Insider reported in November.
The tests involve multiple drones and 5G millimetre wave wireless transmitters, according to the report, which obtained information about the effort through a public records request.
The wireless technology is capable of transmitting multiple gigabits of data per second, and could help establish a network of high-flying drones that provide internet connectivity to people on the ground.
Google has installed a special flight control center, and is renting 15,000 square feet of space in a hangar that was built for Virgin Galactic, The Guardian reports.
The Skybender tests are the latest of several air and space-based initiatives that Google is working on, including Loon, which uses air balloons to beam internet access down to earth, Project Titan, which uses drones to deliver internet access and Project Wing, which involves drones delivering packages.
Earlier this week Google responded to concerns about a separate airborne test, likely related to Project Loon, telling federal regulators that its plans to test high-altitude wireless transmitters across the US did not pose any health or environmental hazards.