Google has acquired drone company Titan Aerospace, a firm that Facebook had previously shown interest in buying. The deal was announced on Monday evening, but details of the deal have not yet been disclosed.
It is believed that Titan will now be working closely on Google’s Project Loon, which was first announced in June 2013. It aims to bring the internet to areas which currently don’t have such services by creating high-altitude balloons that operate in the Earth’s stratosphere. This is twice as high as aeroplanes and the weather. Google currently estimates that two thirds of the world’s population do not currently have internet access. The balloons would not only fill in coverage gaps, but they would also help bring communities back online after natural disasters.
In a statement, Titan said, “At Titan Aerospace, we’re passionate believers in the potential for technology (and in particular, atmospheric satellites) to improve people’s lives. 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.”
All of Titan’s 20 employees will remain in its current New Mexico headquarters.
Facebook reportedly tried to buy Titan Aerospace for $60 million last month to help its Internet.org projects, which also aim to bring internet access to remote areas via satellites and high-altitude aircraft, but was not successful. Instead it bought UK drone firm Ascenta for $20 million at the end of March.