Titan’s drones would bolster Google’s Project Loon in delivering free internet to the far corners of the world.
Last month it was reported that Facebook was in talks to acquire Titan Aerospace, a drone startup manufacturer that produces solar-powered drones which can stay afloat for years at a time. Titan’s first drone, called Solara, can stay afloat for five years and can deliver voice and data services to remote locations across the globe.
Google’s Project Loon high-altitude balloons were launched with the same idea, but Titan’s offerings can stay afloat longer, can carry more payload (22 lbs for Loon and 250 lbs for Solara) and can cover more ground. The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Google announced yesterday that it has acquired Titan Aerospace for an undisclosed amount. Facebook, meanwhile, has acquired UK-based drone manufacturer Ascenta late last month. While no terms were disclosed, Google must have shelled out more than the $60 million Facebook offered to Titan.
It is likely that Titan’s drones will join Google’s Project Loon in delivering internet to the far corners of the world. However, it looks like Google will utilize the drones for more than that. A Titan spokesman said that the drones could be used for disaster relief and tracking environmental damage like deforestation. The 250 lbs payload means that the drones can carry a host of monitoring hardware like cameras and other sensors that can track changes in climatic conditions. The imagery sent back from these drones could also be used to enhance Google Maps.
Source: The Wall Street Journal