#AceNewsServices – April 15 – (DWN) – Google Inc has acquired solar-powered drone maker Titan Aerospace as the Web search giant ramps up plans to deliver wireless Internet access to remote parts of the world.
Titan Chief Executive Vern Raburn declined to provide information on the price of the deal, which he said closed on Monday morning.
The 20-person company will remain in New Mexico for the foreseeable future, Raburn said, with all employees joining Google.
The deal could further Google’s efforts to deliver Internet access to remote regions of the world. Last year Google launched a small network of balloons designed to deliver Internet access over the Southern Hemisphere, dubbed as Project Loon.
“Atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation,” Google said in an emailed statement confirming the Titan acquisition.
Google’s acquisition of Titan comes several weeks after rival Facebook Inc announced plans to build solar-powered drones and satellites capable of beaming Internet access to underdeveloped parts of the world. A few weeks before Facebook’s announcement, press reports said that Facebook was in discussions to acquire Titan.
Titan is developing a variety of solar-powered “atmospheric satellites,” according to the company’s website, with initial commercial operations slated for 2015. The drones, which fly at an altitude of 65,000 feet and can remain aloft for up to five years and have a 165-foot (50-meter) wingspan, slightly shorter than that of a Boeing 777.
News of the acquisition was first reported on Monday by the Wall Street Journal.
#AceSocialNews says that Facebook is reportedly in talks to take over an American-based aerospace company, and if so the social networking site could soon have its fleet of drones delivering the internet to currently unconnected people across the world.
TechCrunch was the first website to report this week on rumors that Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook is interesting in acquiring Titan Aerospace — a deal that is believed to be worth as much as $60 million.
But while that hefty sum is not exactly chump change, it’s just a fraction of what Facebook has spent on other acquisitions recently: Facebook bought mobile photo app Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock in 2012, and only weeks ago forked over nineteen-times that to acquire the rights to the WhatsApp program.
This time, however, Facebook could be getting its hands on some drones, and ideally harnessing the abilities of those unmanned aerial vehicles to bring the internet to the estimated 2.7 billion people currently without access.
Titan Aerospace is responsible for making near-orbital, solar-powered drones, and TechCrunch says Facebook could be spending millions of dollars to acquire the company and get around 11,000 of those small UAVs in return.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook’s new arsenal would be composed of Titan’s “Solara 60” UAVs, an aircraft that can carry a payload of 250 pounds apiece.
On the Titan website, the company explains that these drones can be used for anything from weather monitoring to disaster recovery to earth imaging, and provides customers with “easy access to real-time high-resolution images of the earth, voice and data services, and other atmospheric-based sensor systems.”
RT – TechCrunch – #ASN2014