Google buys atmospheric satellite builder Titan Aerospace

Google logoTitan Aerospacethe drone-maker that was previously pegged as a Facebook acquisitionhas been snapped up by Google, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal (subscription required). Titan creates atmospheric satellites, solar-powered drones that can fly for five years without landing.

According to the report, Google says the Titan team will be headed to Project Loon, Google's balloon-based Internet project. Loon also uses solar-powered drones in the form of balloons instead of airplanes, so the two teams seem like a good match. The Journal also says the team might help out Manaki, a Google-owned company working on an airborne wind turbine (basically a drone plane on the end of a power cable). Atmospheric satellites could also be a big help to Google Maps and Google Earth since they both use satellite imagery. A fleet of camera-packing drones could take all the photos Google needs.

Google buys atmospheric satellite builder Titan Aerospace

One of Titan's "smaller" drone models, called the "Solara 50," has a wingspan of 164 feet. That's larger than a Boeing 767. Before the acquisition, the Titan Aerospace's drone Internet project expected to hit "initial commercial operations" in 2015. By using specialty communications equipment, the company claimed it could get Internet speeds of up to one gigabit per second.

A Google spokesperson was quoted by the Journal as saying, "It's 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."

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Google, technologies

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