Google has agreed to buy Titan Aerospace, the UAV startup that was previously courted by Facebook.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the New Mexico-based manufacturer of high-altitude drones will be working closely with two of Google’s most exciting new projects; Project Loon is building “large, high-altitude balloons that send Internet signals to areas of the world that are currently not online” and Project Makani, “which is developing an airborne wind turbine that it hopes will generate energy more efficiently.”
Titan’s drones are a perfect fit for these kinds of missions, as they are designed to fly for years running on solar power.
“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 spokesman told WSJ in a statement.
Titan claims it can relay data and voice signals up to 1 gigabit per second (As a point of reference, both Comcast and Time Warner’s premium Internet service caps at about 100 megabits per second) and they are looking to begin commercial operations next year.
In addition to aiding in Google’s previously announced projects, the Titan drones -which are larger in size than a 747- also have applications in disaster relief, meteorology, agriculture and (Google) mapping.
Titan Aerospace will continue to be run by CEO Vern Raburn. The price of the sale was not disclosed.
Update 4/15/14: The Titan Aerospace homepage has been taken down and replaced by a letter from Google.