Google has beat Facebook to the punch, snapping up American drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace for an undisclosed sum.
Titan announced in a post on its website Monday that it is indeed joining team Google.
“At Titan Aerospace, we’re passionate believers in the potential for technology (and in particular, atmospheric satellites) to improve people’s lives,” the company said.
“It’s still early days for the technology we’re developing, and there are a lot of ways that we think we could help people, whether it’s providing internet connections in remote areas or helping monitor environmental damage like oil spills and deforestation. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited to learn from and work with our new colleagues as we continue our research, testing and design work as part of the Google family.”
Google told The Wall Street Journal Titan will work on Project Loon, the technology giant’s balloon-powered Internet endeavor to bring the Internet to the two-thirds of the world’s population with no connection. The company also said Titan may also work on the Makani project — Google’s efforts to develop an airborne wind turbine to produce energy more efficiently.
Google’s Project Loon is in direct competition with Facebook’s Internet.org initiative and now it appears Google has a definite leg up on its chief rival.
TechCrunch reported in March that Facebook had its sights set on the American drone manufacturer to further the agenda of internet.org, a global initiative headed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to make Internet access available to five billion new households by 2023.
Facebook was reportedly in negotiations to acquire Titan Aerospace for $60 million in the hopes of using its drones to beam Internet access to isolated regions, beginning with Africa.
Titan is best known for its Solara 60 drones, a featherweight aircraft manufactured using thousands of solar cells that enable it to fly at an altitude of 65,000 feet for years without refueling. The drone can carry as much as 250 pounds.
To see the drones in action, check out the video below:
Founded in 2012, Titan Aerospace “is backed by leading entrepreneurs and comprised of Internet and aerospace professionals,” according to the website.
“By designing, building and operating a coordinated imaging solar atmospheric satellite constellation, Titan is empowering commercial and government customers to make more informed, data-driven decisions that will improve the profitability of companies and the welfare of societies around the world.”
It is headquartered in New Mexico with offices in New York and Washington, D.C.