RSS

The Bulletin

Google is the latest tech company to buy into drones

Posting in Technology
Google has purchased Titan Aerospace–the same solar-powered drone company Facebook was reportedly in talks to buy–for an undisclosed amount. 

The acquisition, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, illustrates Google's effort to reach new users–many of whom are located in remote, isolated areas without Internet access. The search engine giant reportedly plans to have Titan staff work closely with its Project Loon, which uses weather balloons to bring Internet access to remote areas of the world according to WSJ.

Project Loon was launched in June 2013 with an experimental pilot in New Zealand and an ongoing series of research flights are being conducted in California's Central Valley. 

Titan Aerospace, a New Mexico-based startup, has developed an autonomous solar-powered aircraft designed to stay aloft at 65,000 feet (far above air traffic) for up to five years. The aircraft, called the Solara, was unveiled last year at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the world's largest trade show for unmanned planes, vehicles and ships. 

The company markets its aircraft as a cheaper, easier-to-use alternative to launching space satellites. The drones can be used for Earth imaging, communications and even weather monitoring. Initial commercial operations for its line of Solara aircrafts are expected in 2015, according to information once posted on the company's website. Titan's website no longer has any of this information, and instead just displays basic information about Google's purchase. 


At Titan Aerospace, we’re passionate believers in the potential for technology (and in particular, atmospheric satellites) to improve people’s lives. It’s still early days for the technology we’re developing, and there are a lot of ways that we think we could help people, whether it’s providing internet connections in remote areas or helping monitor environmental damage like oil spills and deforestation. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited to learn from and work with our new colleagues as we continue our research, testing and design work as part of the Google family.

— By on April 15, 2014, 8:38 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure