Google gets their own drone making company
Google announced today their acquisition of Titan Aerospace, a drone making company that was recently courted by Facebook, which ended up acquiring a different company. Google’s plans for the drones include bringing Internet connectivity to underserved areas through the drones, not just improved aerial photography, mapping, and weather reporting. The drones can fly for an extended period of time, well above the altitude where commercial aircraft can fly, yet below where satellites orbit, beaming an Internet signal back to the ground.
According to the WSJ, the new drones will likely be integrated into Google’s existing “Project Loon” which uses high-altitude balloons to bring Internet to parts of the globe that lack the infrastructure to provide connectivity to residents.
Titan notes that the drones deliver internet speeds of up to 1Gbps, much faster than what many people receive through standard cable broadband, matching the speed that the best fiber-to-the-home currently delivers.
Don’t forget Makani and Google Earth
Further, the Silicon Valley Business Journal recently reported that Google not only looking at drones like those made by Titan, but was also looking at satellite company Skybox Imaging, which “develops satellites that are smaller and cheaper than traditional satellites, allowing the company to launch and maintain a larger network of them. This allows Skybox to capture images of the Earth that are much more up-to-date than current images, which would seem to line up well with Google’s mapping objectives and Google Earth.”
Again, the obvious use is arming Google with less expensive options to frequently map the globe visually as part of Google Maps and Google Earth, but do you know about the Makani Power Project wherein Google is developing an airborne wind turbine that can generate energy incredibly efficiently? The drones could improve the project and put them one step closer to widespread clean energy production for the public.
The acquisition of Titan is a clear win for Google, as it stands to enhance many of their existing technologies and projects, and is a huge vote for what just years ago were nothing more than sci-fi nerd-erific dream sequences.