Google Takes to the Skies
Google and Facebook seem to be in some sort of battle in which both companies are striving to prove they are the best, and now they are taking it to the next level – mid-flight.
In an announcement made on Monday, Google declared that they were joining forces with drone maker Titan Aerospace in a bid to spread internet access to the far reaches of the world, where telephone wires or towers are nowhere to be seen.
Everyone knows who Google is, but who exactly is Titan Aerospace? A small company of only 20 employees based in New Mexico and run by Chief Executive Vern Raburn, which is currently in the process of building two types of insect-based, solar-powered drones that would have the potential to fly for years.
Facebook had actually been in talks with Titan until Google said it would beat any offer that its adversary made. Instead, Facebook slunk away and made a $20 million (£12 million) successful bid for Ascenta, a small UK-based drone maker that also dabbles in solar power.
Both Titan and Ascenta will be putting their focus on drones that have solar panels mounted on their wings, with Google and Titan’s smallest offering sporting wings just slightly larger than a Boeing 767. The solar panels will charge batteries inside the drones so they will also be able to fly at night – and should, in fact, be able to travel up to 12 miles into the sky and stay up in the air for around five years.
The sum that Google paid for its latest acquisition has not yet been disclosed, but since Monday, Titan has stripped down its website to simply bear a message expressing how thrilled the company is about the union with Google. “We could not 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,” the message read, before thanking everyone who had supported Titan up to this point.
Titan Aerospace’s Mr Raburn explained that Google has bought out the entire company, but is keeping him on in his current capacity of CEO. “We will have accesses to resources we haven’t had before… We are dealing with a company that understands risk, engineering, and it’s consistent with things,” he said.
“It’s certainly early days,” said Google in a statement, “but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people.” The search engine giant added that drones could also help the world in other ways, such as assessing environmental damage such as deforestation, or disaster relief, in which the potential impact of natural disasters could be lessened. “It’s why we are so excited to welcome Titan Aerospace to the Google family.”