Google Acquires Drone Maker Titan Aerospace

Remember Facebook’s recent plans of providing Internet using solar-powered drones? It looks like Google bought the very company the social network was going to acquire for that task.

The WSJ reports that Google just snatched the New Mexico manufacturer of high-flying solar powered drones right from under Facebook’s nose. While the amount paid by the search engine for this new acquisition is unknown, rumor has it that the social network was going to pay $60 million for this drone company. It’s anyone’s guess that Google upped that offer in order to get itself a deal.

One thing is certain, though: drones will be a hot topic this year, whether if it’s for providing Internet or for mobile networks. Amazon even planned to make deliveries using such flying robots, so there are plenty of options. As far as Titan Aerospace’s options as a subsidiary of Google, there are a few ways in which the drone maker could add value to the search giant:

  • The drones could take high-quality pictures from up above to help make Google Earth and Google Maps Better
  • Google might take Facebook’s previous route (since the social network now has to look for another drone maker) and provide Internet in undeveloped areas of the world, as part of the Project Loon
  • Titan Aerospace might collaborate with Makani, another drone company that was bought by Google, in order to harvest wind power up in the sky and deliver it through a very long cable

A Google spokesperson stated that “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.”

In terms of autonomy, the drones manufactured by Titan Aerospace are quite impressive. The company reported last year that its drones could be in the air for up to five years, and obviously this is achieved through the solar panels that harvest the energy required by the drones.

Google’s acquisition of Titan Aerospace is just one in a long row of acquisitions of robot makers, so it will definitely be interesting to see what the search giant has in store for us in the not so distant future.

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