Google buys web-beaming solar drones capable of flying for years at a time
Published time: April 14, 2014 23:26
Titan Aerospace began operation in 2012 and its team of approximately 20 employees will continue to function out of its Moriarty headquarters after the deal goes through. They have spent years developing an unmanned-aerial-system (UAS) that, unlike the military drones buzzing over nations throughout the world, have been designed with the reported aim of bringing unfettered internet access to remote areas of the globe.
The sale was first reported Monday by the Wall Street Journal, although the terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Titan Aerospace and Google share a profound optimism about the potential for technology to improve the world,” a Google spokesman told the Journal. “It is still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation.”
Titan deploys thin, solar panel-covered aircraft that are able to convert sunlight into fuel. The two models under development, the Solara 50 and Solara 60, are capable of flying for five years at an altitude twice the height passenger airlines travel.
Google has suggested the drones will be used to collect images from high above the planet, aiding initiatives like Google Earth and Google Maps. The spokesperson also told reporters the Titan aircraft will work closely with Google’s Project Loon, which is working to release high-altitude balloons that will broadcast Internet connectivity to closed-off areas of the world.