Titan Aerospace is just one of the many companies Google has been purchasing over the last few months. Other recent purchases by Google include military robot maker Boston Dynamics and smart-home device manufacturer Nest. So far the price Google paid for Titan Aerospace has been undisclosed.
Titan Aerospace is noteworthy because they manufacture high-altitude solar-powered vehicles that are meant to fly for years at a time. The company is run by Vern Raburn who has worked at both Symantec and Microsoft in the past. The New Mexico based company employees about twenty people and will continue to operate in New Mexico after the buyout. The plan is for Titan Aerospace to work on Google’s worldwide Internet coverage initiative, Project Loon, and potentially do imaging for Google Maps.
“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,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.
According to Forbes, “Titan’s thin craft look somewhat like a dragonfly covered with solar cells and the company claims it can transmit data to the ground from heights nearly twice as far above the ground as the elevation most passenger airlines cruise at. Formed in 2012, the company has been developing two models of unmanned aerial vehicle, the Solara 50 and Solara 60 that are designed to stay aloft continuously for as long as 5 years.”
Just a few weeks ago Facebook announced the purchase of a similar drone manufacturer Ascenta. Facebook originally considered buying Titan Aerospace but bought Ascenta for $20 million instead. Facebook plans to use it as part of a planned worldwide Internet service initiative called internet.org.
TechCrunch reports, “Both Ascenta and Titan Aerospace are in the business of high altitude drones, which cruise nearer the edge of the earth’s atmosphere and provide tech that could be integral to blanketing the globe in cheap, omnipresent Internet connectivity to help bring remote areas online.”
Google’s purchase of Titan Aerospace gives them a step forward in its ongoing acquisitions competition with Facebook. Drones are becoming a standard business practice these days. Amazon is doing independent research on how to build drones as well.
Titan Aerospace plans to begin operations beyond the planning stage in 2015, and it could be a few years after that before Google services start to change in any significant way because of the drones.
In the very near future corporate high-altitude aerial vehicles, like the ones manufactured by Titan Aerospace, will be gliding above.